You may be wondering...

..who I am:
My name is Amanda Baxley and I am from the teeny town of Hartsville, South Carolina. I went to the College of Charleston and graduated in 2006 with a BA in Biology and a minor in Psychology. After taking a year off to work, I got accepted to the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing. I graduated from the Accelerated BSN program this past December and am now officially a RN!!! I have had the same amazing boyfriend for the past 4 years now and will hopefully be lucky enough to be engaged to him very soon! And I definitely can't go without mentioning the other love in my sweet, adorable 4 year old Daschund named Sadie. She is my best friend and always beside me!

...what this blog is all about:
Giving others a chance to experience Livingstone, Zambia right along with me.

...when I will be in Zambia:
From January 31 until March 2 of this year.

...where Livingstone, Zambia is located:
Livingstone is the current capital of Zambia, a country in the southern portion of Africa. Livingstone is approximately 10km south of Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

...why I am going there:
To provide healthcare to the disadvantaged citizens of Livingstone. Zambia is one of the world's poorest countries in the world and, as a result, healthcare is ineffecient. Because of the lack of adequate healthcare and health related education, Zambia is one of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa most affected by HIV and AIDS. Growing up, I was lucky enough to see the way that my dad cared about people other than himself. So...long story short, about 10 months ago, I made the decision to go to Zambia so that I could begin using my medical skills like my father used his - to help those that are unable (no matter what the reason) to help themselves.

“For the first time in human history, we have the science, the technology, and the money to end extreme poverty. With this unprecedented historic opportunity comes the responsibility to act”.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February 23, 2009

I can’t believe that I am leaving here a week from today. It literally seems like only yesterday that I was stepping off of the plane at the Livingstone airport saying, “I can’t believe I am actually in Africa! Wow…it is really hot here!” But now, 3 weeks have passed so quickly and I don’t want to go home. I miss Bradley, my family, and Sadie but I feel as if this place really has become my second home. I have made so many friends – most of them locals – Brave, Bennie, Mulopa, Victor, Chris, Sharon, Ivy, Ronnie, Alex, Dillon, and Dominic and I am going to miss them with my whole heart. They are all the most amazing, friendly, welcoming, loving people that I have ever been blessed to meet and I have loved every minute that I have spent with them. They have all played a major part in making me a better individual. I feel like a completely new person and I am so content with myself as a person. I never thought that I would be able to say that but, after this trip, I can honestly say that I have such a sense of calm within. I have made lifetime friends and these people really are ones that will stay in my heart forever. The experiences that I have had here have all been ones that I am so lucky to have had and I know that they have changed me for the better. I feel like I have finally been given a pair of glasses that have allowed me to see what has been in front of my face my whole life. I have also been able to finally see how truly blessed I am in my life. I used to take so many things for granted that I know will never be taken advantage of again. I really, really hope that this feeling never fades and will remain as amazing to me as it is now. I’m really going to enjoy every minute of this last week…..

February 21, 2009

Today I went to Zambezi Sun for the first time! I can’t believe that I have been here for almost 3 weeks now and have not been to this resort yet. The staff let African Impact volunteers use the pool on the weekends – as long as we buy a drink or something while we are there. It is an amazing place and would be such a cool place to go on your honeymoon b/c it is right beside Vic Falls! I mean, it literally took us 2 minutes to walk to the falls from the pool! Amazing!! While you lay out by the pool, there is a band over by the bar that plays really relaxing African music. They had all these African instruments that made the music sound even better than it already was. While we were at the pool swimming and sunbathing, a herd of zebra walked by the pool on the way to go munch on some grass!! Yeah….an actual herd of zebra! How cool is it that I am now able to say, “So…the other day, I was laying out by the pool and looked up from reading my book, only to realize that about 7 or 8 zebra were coming towards me”! Yeah…pretty awesome huh?! I was absolutely speechless but was able to grab my camera and get a pretty good video of the whole thing. About an hour later, I was lying in the shallow end of the pool still reading the book when, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw something move. Well, I looked up and saw a monkey running over to where my lounge chair was. I had heard that the monkeys around this resort were really notorious for stealing food and other things from the guests at the pool. So, as soon as I saw the monkey making its way towards my lounge chair, I just knew that he had his mind set on getting something of mine. I started to climb out of the pool to try and go stop the monkey but as soon as I stood up, I saw him hop on my chair, reach over to the table beside the chair, and steal my pack of breath savers that I had opened just 15 minutes before. I was so surprised that I just kind of loudly said “Hey! That monkey just stole my mints!!” My waiter just happened to be nearby at the time and promptly decided to throw down his tray and run after the monkey. So…just imagine seeing this….a red butted monkey (that also had really obvious, crazy looking blue balls) sprinting across a lawn with a stolen pack of mints in his mouth – and following quickly behind is a young, African, sharply dressed waiter that has a look of absolute determination on his face. He didn’t catch up with the monkey but it was absolutely hilarious…and now that monkey has some serious fresh breath.

Walking Safari

February 15, 2009

Went on a walking safari today! Gemi, Corrine, Johanna, and I had to be at the post office at 6:45 am! Awfully early but it was pretty worth it! Other than the 4 of us, there was another man on the safari that I swear looked exactly like Mr. Bean! I tried to take a photo of him during the safari but I don’t think that it turned out very well. He had the huge nose and the buck teeth and everything! It was hilarious! Anyway, on our way to the bush, we picked up a man named Katongo. His job was to protect us during the safari. He carried around an AK-47 (no lie) and was supposed to shoot up in the air to scare any animals away that might charge. It was pretty scary actually but also really cool at the same time. I had never seen an AK-47 in real life before so I was pretty amazed. About halfway through the safari we took a little snack break. As we were sitting by the jeep eating our egg salad sandwiches, I got up and went over to speak to Katongo and our safari guide. I started a little conversation and ended up talking about the AK-47 that he was carrying around with him. He asked if I wanted to take a picture while holding the gun. Of course I said yes but told him to make sure that the safety was on before I put it into my hands – he chuckled a little and then pushed the gun into my arms. All I could think to myself was, “Oh my god…I’m holding an AK-47…I really hope I don’t kill anyone”. I just had this horrible picture in my head of me accidentally dropping the gun and it unloading on everyone as it bounced on the ground. Not a good mental picture at all. But, we posed for two pictures and they turned out really good. I was wearing khaki shorts and a green top so I looked like I was meant to be holding the gun. It is really hilarious and I can’t wait to be able to post it so everyone can see.
The beginning of the safari was very, very boring – no animals to see except for a lot of impala. And they would run off as soon as we got close to them. So, the guide was I guess feeling a little antsy b/c he was not able to “please” his customers. So, he began talking to us about plants that we passed while walking. He kept on and on and on with this plant talk and it really started to frustrate me a lot. I paid $60 to go on an ANIMAL safari, not a botanical safari. Well, after we saw a lot of plants, the guide decided that he would move on to talking about dung beetles. So, we found a big pile of rhino poop and the guide proceeded to talk about the iridescent color of the dung beetles and how some of them were small and some of them were large. Oh my god…it was terrible. But then, finally, we started to see some animals. I was really excited to see an animal but I was even more excited about not hearing anything else about beetles that survive off of poo. We ended up seeing zebra, wildebeest, monkeys, a warthog, buffalo, giraffe, an elephant, and a really big lizard. It ended up being a really exciting experience but I was slightly disappointed b/c I expected to be able to get a lot closer to the animals than we did. I also expected to see a lot more animals than we did as well. But….hey…..I got to hold an AK-47 while standing in the African bush…..that’s pretty good if I do say so myself.