Camp TREE 2014

Organizing Northern Province’s first annual Camp TREE – Teaching Respect for Everyone’s Environment – may just be the best thing I’ve done in my Peace Corps service. Not only did I get to spend four days in Lavushi Manda National Park, camping above a waterfall and hiking to the top of one of Zambia’s tallest peaks (over 1,800 meters), I got to do it all with one of the most amazing groups of kids I’ve ever spent time with.

These young Zambians – teenagers from eight villages across Northern and Muchinga provinces – were on fire from the moment we arrived. Intelligent, excited, eager to learn, and just plain hilarious, they made my day every day. In between activities about biodiversity and lessons on the importance of trees, we went on nature walks, swam in the Lukulu River, and played a ton of games. Camp TREE felt like a gift straight from the heart of Zambia – one that left me so happy, so inspired, that sometimes I thought my wide grin might just break my face right open.

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