Part of a Legacy

Just as the planes circled the Zambezi sky twenty days ago, once again a series of six seater planes buzzed overhead. These planes are some of the only ones that circle the Zambezi sky the whole year, highlighting to the community both Gonzaga’s arrival and departure. After our short twenty days here the runway is no longer filled with strangers but friends. They are not here to greet us, or to see what we might bring, but to say final goodbyes and a thank you. The success of our trip on this community can be directly correlated to the number and type of people out on that airstrip. This is not measured by what we have physically created, but by the relationships we have built. The runway was not only dominated by children, but also numerous business and community leaders. They came when they saw and heard the planes, not because of a handout that they had received, but because of the relationships and the educational opportunities which they had experienced during our time together.

These relationships which have been built by us students over the course of only a few weeks ended as we walked to the airstrip. For myself, I know I most likely will never come back to this community. I may be friends with a few of my computer students on Facebook, or I may send letters back and forth with a few of my favorite locals, but the relationship as it was in class will never be the same. As I walked to the airstrip for the last time and said my goodbyes I never let this thought pass my lips. I felt a tremendous amount of self guilt each time I said “I will try to come back” as I already knew the probabilities of my statement.  This guilt was a result of becoming a member of the community over the past few weeks and hearing so many helpless life stories. As the plane circled the Zambezi sky for the last time I felt that I was personally turning my back on this community.
As our plane drifted towards Livingstone, during our day at Victoria Falls and on our overnight safari trip, I realized these weeks are much more than returning to Zambezi and accompanying the community.  The first and main aspect of this trip is for our own self development. The events that have transpired over the past twenty days have helped me grow as individual.  These life lessons will carry on whether I am back home or in Zambezi. The second aspect of the trip is based around empowering the Zambezi community. My departure is not the end of Gonzaga’s involvement with this community. Next year, a new group of students will come and teach a whole new series of classes. These trips and these classes will continue as long as the Zambezi community has the desire to stand on their own two feet. When May 2014 comes around, the airstrip will once again be filled with members of the community singing and dancing. A group of new students will be here ready to teach their classes and learn life lessons from Africa. This is what the whole trip is based around, simultaneous growth of both us as individuals and the community. Africa is teaching us and we are teaching Africa.
Nathan Brown
Class of 2010
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16 Responses to Part of a Legacy

  1. Joe M says:


    Well said! It looks like you all journeyed through a transformational experience. I wish all of you the best of luck in processing you time in Zambia. I know that I am still processing mine with my fellow group members even 4 years later.

    -Joe M
    Zambezi go-er 2009

    Special note to Josh: always great to hear how the program continues to develop

  2. Lynda says:

    Katie!!! We just left Kourtneys graduation ceremony minutes ago (yes Im still checking the blog)…it’s official she’s graduated!!! We missed you bunches, took a gazillion pictures and can’t wait to have you home for the party! Can’t write too much as we’re in the car, but… I love you! Mommy xoxo

  3. The new and serene but still a little impish Larry Newman says:

    I love reading these because they a like a diary of someone in an intense period of self discovery. Although were all written by different people they all seem like they are from the same voice (except for Megan’s, hers was the best). Keep writing when you get the chance because we’re still reading.
    You didn’t sneak any little or medium sized animals on the plane did you?
    Love, Dad

  4. Christian Hoag says:

    So great to hear from you guys again. Katie, your mom texted me there was a new blog just as I was leaving to go ride the iron man bike course with my dad… So I had to wait like 3 hours to read it… haha. I hope you all (actually I know you all) had an amazing time, that was life changing. I hope you all got to experience everything you wanted to experience. It’s so weird to think a week from now, from this exact minute, I’ll be hanging out with you Katie!! Ah, makes me so happy. Keep living it up, I can’t wait to hear from you guys again!
    I love you Katie McCann!!

  5. the house family says:

    as your time in Africa comes to an end rejoice in the memory’s that you take home with you all. although some may not be as happy as others, remember all the good you have done for so many with something so simple as your time and love. safe travels to all, and Conner, we cant wait to hear from you. we love you son, look forward to seeing you soon.
    Dad, Mom and Chad

  6. JVB says:

    We’ve enjoyed living vicariously through your experiences. I don’t think you all will ever realize how much you have touched their lives and I don’t believe they will ever know how much they have touched yours. I know many of my friends, family and coworkers will miss your blogs. Safe journeys.

    Brittany love you and miss you very much. Nate nice shirt.

  7. carole marti says:

    I can’t wait to hear the story behind the picture!!

    Thanks Nate for your honesty and feelings as you left zambia. It had to be very difficult in so many ways. And all of you never know whether you will return. I am betting that some of you will.

    I am hoping that your safari and visit to the falls have been experiences of a lifetime. You are all getting ready to disband as a part of the zagfam that you have formed there. You all can keep these relationships going with just a little work. These are the things that can last a lifetime.

    All of your families are anxious to see you safely home again. Godspeed to you all in the rest of your travels.

    Shaun, we saw the mariners play the Yankees at safeco field today (mariners lost a close one) and then we saw the seattle sounders play Vancouver at century link ( sounders won a close one). Crazy seattle day. Love you a ton.

  8. Bev Van Buskirk says:

    Nate your blog was so nicely said. It is amazing to think that these last few weeks in Zambezi will have an effect on everyone for a lifetime. Travel well and may you continue to spread joy along your journey. Looking forwards to seeing you and hearing all about your travels.
    Sending a big hug your way!
    xox Bev

    P.S hi britt , missing you! love you tons!

  9. Monte Marti says:

    Sorry for the late response, but another great post and reflection. You are all embracing the fullness of the experience. If you are truly open, authentic, and present ~ you are able to grow ~ personally and as a community. As you have experienced ~ this has been a journey … a journey of preparation ~ a journey of action ~ a journey of reflection ~ a journey toward the future. As you continue your journey into the future, please continue to love and to smile. You make me smile. GOD BLESS! Monte

  10. Kelly Norris says:

    “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

    Hello Zambezi 2013!
    What a wonderful journey you have all been on these past few weeks. Thank you for giving me to opportunity to journey with you through your amazing reflections in this blog.

    Perhaps one of the greatest life lessons I have ever learned from the great Josh Armstrong is within a quote he shared with me at the end of my personal journey in Zambezi…..”Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you”. Although it may take you a few minutes to unpack the bags you bring home next week, it may take a lifetime to truly “unpack” the life-changing experiences you had in Zambezi that you are also bringing home with you. Take the time to reflect, explore, and discover what you want to DO with your experiences in Zambezi. Because it is within discovering what you want to DO with what has happened to you that truly, you find yourself.

    Enjoy your last few moments in Zambia!

    Mwane mwane, Kelly Norris
    Zambezi 2009

  11. Paul Brajcich says:

    I would like to thank each and everyone of you for sharing a truly inspiring journey with us. I have closely watched your journey, some in the household would say I was a bit obsessive, with great interest and pride. As the father of a participant I have learned much about the Zambezi program. As a GU alum, class of 79, it validates what is meant by the live life changing “Gonzaga Experience.” It is truly unique and you will take some much away from this experience. As a member of the University’s Board of Trustees you have lived out the Jesuit Catholic Humanistic mission of the University. I will have so much to share with my fellow Trustees thanks to your love for others and your heartfelt communications. Thank you so much for making the world a better place and further blazing the trail for future Zam Fams.

    Your comments about the goodbyes bring to mind Father Tony Lehman. Tony was one of the most instrumental Jesuits in the history of Gonzaga. He believed that a relationship and interaction never ended but continued in a different manner. Instead of good-bye he would lend an interaction with the words “to be continued.” He was so right as your journey and experiences will never end.

    I encourage each of you to remember Father Tony’s words as you continue your journey. As a reminder he is remembered his own seat at the end of the Gonzaga bench in the Kennel.

    Again thank you for being true Zags. In closing I can only say “to be continued”

    P.S Michelle, enjoy your time in Ireland and we will see you later this week

  12. Lori Newman says:

    Thanks to all of you for including us in your experiences. Thanks for opening your hearts to the Zambezi community and to us Blog readers. You have all gone through such a transformation from the first Blog to the last. The memories you have made will stay with you forever.

    We miss you like crazy. Have fun in England and Ireland. Be careful, not everyone is as nice as you and Ally. Can’t wait to see you. If you can, contact us. I can’t wait to talk to you. Take care of yourself and take lots of pictures. See you on the 21st.

    Love you ,

  13. Krista Beyer says:

    Hello!!!!!!! I hope your Safari experience was fabulous as I’m sure it was. Just checking in with you guys. We made it to our 6am bus and into Lusaka with incredible ease. Prepared for the craziness of the bus station we found a taxi driver, the hostel, ran all of our errands, and had a great meeting with some people involved with a stove initiative at the World Wide Fund. It was pretty cool to get to meet all of these active and influential people dedicated to wildlife and health at the Lusaka WWF headquarters. We made it out of Lusaka and to London. Enjoyed an evening in the city and visited Big Ben and Westminster only to find upon our arrival at Heathrow that our plane was overbooked and we did not have seats. So, we’re still in London flying out this afternoon and will arrive in Seattle at 4:30 if nothing else goes wrong. Another night in London isn’t so bad though. Can’t wait to hear about the remainder of your travels. good luck, travel safe, and be sure to get your plane seats 24 hrs beforehand.
    -Krista, Paige, Jessica, and Dr. Reyes

  14. Sherie Crha says:

    Thank you, thank you for all the wonderful posts, written from your hearts!!!! I felt like I was on this journey with you, even though it was only a glimpse of what you did and experienced. I really appreciate so much what everyone did, and know you have all grown from it. Miss you Allison, and like Megans mom said be safe in London and Dublin, and I will see you on the 22nd!!! Can’t wait to squeeze your cheeks!! ha
    Love mom

    P.S. I know we won’t win the award for writting the most, sorry…….but we thought of you everyday and read all the blogs and other posts.

  15. Lora Trujillo says:

    Haven’t posted a comment lately but am continuing to follow the adventure daily, ok 2-3 times a day!

  16. John Meyers says:

    Way to go Zags! What incredible insights and reflections you have shared. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Shake yo boody!
    John Meyers

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