CMMB and Access to Health Zambia support the Kusamala Project to empower children with disabilities and their families with life-changing resources. This was one of the projects CMMB volunteer Sabine reflects on in the following piece. (Alissa Everett/Getty Images for CMMB)

When I embarked on this life-changing adventure as a CMMB volunteer, I was not sure what to expect. Little did I know this journey would not only challenge my perspectives but also fill my heart with profound gratitude and a sense of purpose.

A little over six months ago, I joined a team of passionate individuals at Access to Health Zambia, a local affiliate of CMMB. I was immediately drawn to the team’s commitment to improving health access and outcomes in Zambia. The warm welcome from my colleagues and the genuine smiles of the people I encountered daily made me feel not like a foreign volunteer but a member of a closely-knit community. But that’s not to say the experience wasn’t without its challenges.

In the beginning, I struggled a little while learning where I would fit in. I wanted to provide all that I could in six months, and I felt slow getting started. But that feeling did not last long. Before I knew it my days were filled with inspiring work that spanned several areas and allowed me to work with many different colleagues.

My responsibilities involved supporting the communication, M&E, and programming team. Working across these teams allowed me to witness the impact of collective efforts in improving healthcare services.

Prisca, the communications officer, was a guiding force since the beginning, actively involving me in the remarkable communication and branding initiatives that she leads for Access to Health Zambia. Prisca gave me a crash course in communication and shared an opportunity to learn a new field. I am truly thankful for her for making my volunteer experience even better.

Additionally, Edgar, the M&E officer, included me in the endline evaluation process for the Makululu Child Protection Hub. As part of this project, I had the privilege of visiting Makululu in the Compound in Kabwe, Zambia. Here I witnessed the impactful activities conducted by the Access to Health Zambia and CMMB teams to safeguard youth and engage them in vocational training activities.

Meeting the youth of Makululu, listening to their expressions of gratitude for their newfound knowledge and skills, and hearing their eagerness to educate their peers was truly inspiring. One individual who left a lasting impression was Violet, a 15-year-old girl. Her intelligence, inquisitiveness, and eagerness are qualities that will undoubtedly help her achieve great accomplishments.

Watson and Memory, who serve as program officers under the Kusamala Project, actively involved me in conducting caregiver trainings for children with disabilities. They generously shared their insights about the reunification process for children who were once separated from their families.

At the end of my volunteer experience, I landed my dream job in Zambia as head of Programs for another Zambian NGO. I am so grateful to stay in this beautiful country even longer. On my final day with Access to Health Zambia, my colleagues bid me farewell over a common lunch. They all took the time to share a few words about me, many commenting on how I was able to adapt to the organization, while still maintaining my own personality and culture. My Danish bluntness and focus on time were mentioned a couple of times—but all with a twinkle in the eye!

It meant a lot to me to hear the kind and accepting words, which was just an affirmation of the feelings I already felt about working with Access to Health Zambia.

I am truly grateful for CMMB and Access to Health Zambia for giving me the opportunity to volunteer in Zambia, learn, grow, build new friendships, and advance my career. I feel lucky that my last day was ‘easy’ with the knowledge that it was not a ‘farewell’ but a see you soon. I am already excited to go visit the office again soon.

If you are thinking about volunteering and getting a global experience, I would highly recommend considering CMMB. The organization has supported volunteers for decades, and they know how to make the experience smooth, comfortable, and an overall unforgettable experience for life.