The group went to Victoria Falls. The largest waterfall in Zambia during the trip. (Submitted)

The group went to Victoria Falls. The largest waterfall in Zambia during the trip. (Submitted)

Cawston youth broadens her horizons on Zambia trip

Woman travelled with a group of young Indigenous leaders from across the country

A three-month trip to a country 15,000 kilometres away reinforced the idea for a Cawston woman that real change comes from grassroots initiatives and empowering the people.

Sofia Terbasket-Funmaker travelled to Zambia in the fall of 2018 with a group of young Indigenous leaders from across the country as part of the Victoria International Development Education Association program.

While there, Terbasket-Funmaker worked primarily with the organization Women for Change.

She spent the majority of her time in the capital of Zambia, Lusaka, which has a population of over one million people.

“Watching people empower themselves was so cool. I learned so much about development and how we can apply that here as well and how I want to make a change in Canada, mainly in this community,” she said.

The Blind Creek Reservation woman is currently attending the University of Victoria and is close to obtaining her bachelor degree in Indigenous Studies.

READ MORE: Women’s marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

“It was great to experience a different country and it was great to get to meet Indigenous people from all over Canada who came with their own cultures and things. That was a really neat part of the program.”

For the majority of her three months in the South African country, Terbasket-Funmaker stayed in the capital mainly working in an office setting. She spent a lot of that time researching programs she could implement in her home community to empower others.

She recalled one of the most unforgettable experiences.

“We went to a ceremony and gave a bunch of families two goats. They received all the supplies to take care of the goats, and instruction on how to take care of the goats. The idea is a little while later the family would pass on the kids from the goats to other families. That’s what I really liked about the model because it was about empowering the people to take care of their own. It’s as simple as a pair of goats,” she said.

She said she had an instant ice breaker with the locals as Sofia is a Zambian name.

“When I introduced myself in their language and told them my name they got really excited. I think they really appreciated that I took the time to learn some of their languages because not everyone does that,” she said.

READ MORE: Humanitarian takes 6,500 km road trip to deliver ambulance

She noted nothing about Zambia resembled Canada and city life was not for her.

“I didn’t like walking around the city because there is so much staring and cat calling by the men. It was really a big downer for me. I loved it there but I hated the staring. I couldn’t get comfortable with it ever,” he said.

The only western food chain that existed was KFC.

“Actually all of their chains seemed to be about fried chicken. They really liked it. I really liked something called village chicken which really was just organic chicken. They called chicken they would get from places like KFC broiler chickens as we would,” she said.

Terbasket-Funmaker said rural life was more for her style.

She spent about four weeks over the three-month trip doing fieldwork in a small community called Petauke.

“It didn’t have any electricity or running water and the toilet was a big hole so you had to learn to squat and you had to face your fears of cockroaches and spiders. They were pretty big spiders and if I hadn’t been to Australia before that I would have probably been a lot more scared,” she said.

During the three months, she also got a chance to take a mini-vacation. They travelled to Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

“It was really fun to do that. I’d really like to go back during the rainy season. It wasn’t running at full and I think it’d be amazing to see that,” she said.

Terbasket-Funmaker said the trip reinforced the idea she wanted to make a career out of being on the land and helping people to reconnect.

“We spend so much time on our phones and Facebook. I think the goal is to become an outdoor leader, which is basically just leading people on multi-day backpacking trips and canoeing trips because I think we have a lot to learn from the land and we need to reconnect ourselves to what our potential is,” she said.

VIDEA is open to all Indigenous youth who have not completed post-secondary. For more information visit their website at http://videa.ca/.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Lifted cannabis staff Dave, Susie, Tanya, Elena and their massive inflatable joint hit the streets in downtown Penticton April 20, 2021, making sure 4/20 didn’t go forgotten amid a pandemic. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton cannabis shop brings spirit of 4/20 to the streets amid pandemic

Lifted Cannabis employees celebrated their favourite holiday April 20 in downtown Penticton

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Penticton’s Nanaimo Avenue Bridge is set for removal in July 2021. (Jesse Day - Western News)
No replacement for Nanaimo Avenue Bridge this year

Council voted to add consideration for a replacement to a future budget

Penticton’s Ikeda Japanese Garden, located along the Okanagan lake waterfront, was constructed in 2003 and opened two years later. (City of Penticton/Screenshot)
Penticton-Ikeda Japanese Cultural Club seeking volunteers for garden maintenance

Activities include thinning, trimming, raking and ‘lively conversations with other volunteers’

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Kate Budau’s flat tire outside of Glenmore Elementary School on Monday. (Contributed)
Kelowna mom searches for Good Samaritans who helped her change a tire

Woman looking for two dads who helped her after her tire popped in the Glenmore Elementary School drop-off area on Monday

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Lumby resident Dan Hill was at Vernon’s Polson Park to celebrate 4-20 by giving away free marijuana joints to people of age April 20, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
North Okanagan man back with free joints, cupcakes on 4-20

Dan Hill is trying to help people of age relax during a stressful April with marijuana giveaway

A lit cigarette tossed from a passing car is believed to be the cause of a grass fire which was only held to a ditch by the quick action of passersby in Salmon Arm on April 19. (Pixabay image)
Passersby fight Salmon Arm roadside grass fire believed started by flicked cigarette

Dry conditions prompt warning from resident, fire department

Most Read