This week Greenpop’s festival of Action event begins in Livingstone in Zambia… it is the event of the year. I would so love to be there… and feel the hot dusty air of the African plain at midday, and meet new folk and tree planters, with a passion for the environment. The festival runs for the next three weeks… look out for them on instagram and instagram stories as they post pictures of this fabulous event every day.
What to Pack for Zambia
If I was going to the GreenPop event in Zambia then this what I, the minimalistic packer of all time, would take…
- A Blanket: the nights are so much colder than you can imagine. I have fond memories of rolling myself upon my blanket like a cinnamon pancake and then falling over clunk in my tent, until I woke up again early the next morning.
- Anti-Mosquito Spray: As soon as dusk arrives, it is time to cover up and make sure you have thoroughly covered yourself in anti-mosquito cream. I never took anti-malarial medication… it wasn’t malaria season. But just as a precaution I made sure I wasn’t bitten by mosquitos.
- One Change of Clothes is Enough: During the heat of the day, when you return from tree planting it is quite hot enough to quickly hand wash your dirty clothes and hang them out to dry… the warm afternoon breeze will have your wet washing dry by sunset. So a little laundry soap would be a good idea.
- A Notebook and Pencil: I know you think you are striding out to plant trees, and you think you are going to plant thousands of trees every single day. The truth is that you are going to be planting in a team, and together you are going to plant at about a handful of trees a day and the rest of the time you are going to be learning. Learning about sustainable living, brainstorming solutions to global problems with folk from completely different cultures. Not to mention learning to see the world from a very different perspective to the one you have always held. All that learning and you will want to take notes and keep a journal of all the amazing things that are happening around you… and the wonderful things you will see.
- A Water bottle: You will be out in the fields in the heat of the day and you will get thirsty… trust me you will be glad of a water bottle.
- A Little Cash: You really won’t need to a lot of cash, all your meals are well taken care of. You will get the chance to go out for dinner once or twice, and you will want to do a little street shopping and bargaining AND you will want to buy the traditional memento: sheets of beautiful, brightly coloured fabric called shatingis.
- A Helpful Spirit: The days are extremely hot, the nights are extremely cold… there will be moments of discomfort. You will plant trees and work in the very hot heat of the day and love it and you will want to sit outdoors next to the campfire and glean so much from the fireside stories, even though it is really freezing cold. You will never be asked to do more than you can do, look for every opportunity you can to jump in and lend a hand anywhere, it will make it all lot more fun.
- An Open Heart: You will be working with all sorts of people, of all ages and cultures, super friendly high energy folk… and it is great, but tiring. There are times to retreat and take a quiet moment… embrace those moments, they are often when you find yourself next to someone in a shady spot, or bouncing along the road in a truck next to someone and getting to know folk one on one can create those life changing friendships that last a lifetime. Like minded friends that have traveled to Zambia, from all over the world, to be there and you will return to your home changed because of them… it is a good thing, embrace the change and get comfortable with it. You will go home and find yourself composting where you never composted before, growing things and recycling things, creating eco-bricks and pushing for a sustainable lifestyle. Somehow it all seems so much easier to try when you know you have a network of friends around the world with similar goals.
You can read all about my trip to the Zambia Festival of Action with GreenPop, just follow the link…