FAQ: Questions I Get Asked a Lot
When I tell people I live in Africa, I get lots of questions. So let’s hit em hard.
Where is Zambia?
Central Southern Africa. Sandwiched in between Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe.
What do you do in Zambia?
I am a youth worker with a gap year program in a city called Ndola.
Youth work is a funny thing because it is so relational and flexible. But here’s a typical day in the gap year program:
8:00am-12:00pm—homemade bfast cuz mornings are my freetime while the students are in class and I am a sucker for brunch
1:00-4:00pm—afternoon skills with the students like art, swimming, and children’s work
6:00pm—dinner. The students make their own dinner as a group and I love chilling with them while they cook around the charcoal
7:30-10:00pm—after-dinner programs which vary by day. Book reflection, mentor groups, game/movie nights, etc.
10:00pm lights out and I crash!
Even though my day is full of activity, I view my biggest and most important job as pouring into the students. And that happens in the little moments. The moments I am frustrated and tired, or the ones I am excited and engaged. It is the most fun and challenging job in the world!
What is a gap year program?
Though it is not as common in the US, abroad lots of students will take a break between finishing high school and starting university and/or work. We have crafted a specific program that utilizes this time in Zambian students’ lives to help prepare them for university and beyond! It is a mix of academic and practical skills, helping them discover their own strengths and passions so that they will thrive.
Is what you do Christian?
But you aren’t at a bible school or evangelizing on the street or even teaching English?
You would be correct.
My take on things is that there isn’t really a line between God-stuff and not-God stuff. It is all just life. I believe there is a God and He is big and loving and confusing sometimes. Without getting too far into the philosophy of it all, I feel loved by God and so I love others in what I do. A lot of the “reaching out” Christians have done in the past has been alienating, drawing a line between us and them. I don’t see Jesus like that. I see God as wanting us to flourish and that flourishing is what we are working towards in Zambia.
When I donate, where does my money go?
Your gifts actually have a very short trip: your wallet, to my sending agency in the States, and then to me in Zambia. Done.
My sending agency SAMS takes 15% off the top to cover expenses and trainings. But I will vouch for them and say that they do a lot with that little bit. When it gets to me, your money facilitates the part of the gap year program that I am able to lead. I could not do my job without you backing me!
All that to say: when you donate money to the work I do in Zambia, you are directly investing in my students’ futures!
If you have any more questions about how the gifts are used and how it impacts the students, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am an open book. :)
Why should I give to your work?
Okay so not many people actually ask me this, but I know they are thinking it. There's a lot of good work going on in the world. Why give to this one?
This is what I say: There is a HUGE need to pour into the upcoming generation in Zambia. Being a teenager is hard anywhere, but the stakes of messing up while trying to discover who you are in Zambia are high. In a country with so many young people (50% of the population is under 15!), we cannot afford to have so many teens that are struggling with addiction and dropping out of school because it will result in an even weaker country in the future. The youth of Zambia deserve to be loved and poured into so that they can become solidly grounded, empowered to lead and change their own country. And that is our specific aim at the gap year course.
Do you live in a hut?
No. Not many people do these days.
This is my house. I even have hot water and electricity most of the time yay
Do they speak English?
Yes. But everyone knows at least two other local languages so I am working on that.
Do you feel safe?
Yes. Zambians pride themselves on being one of the most peaceful nations in Africa. No wars since independence. I work on a normal-level of careful.
Being a white woman, I definitely stand out so I have had to perfect my “boy bye” look.
But most of them are harmless. In fact, I regularly travel alone. Zambians are some of the nicest people on earth.
How do I give?
Well how nice of you to ask. It's easy. (And yes, it is all tax deductible.)
- Online HERE. One-time or monthly, it is all there.
- Check or Cash by sending it into this address
PO Box 399
Ambridge, PA 15003
And write “April Sylvester” in the memo line.
Thanks so much to all you wonderful people that keep me going!