If I was to give any advice it would be to go for it! You'd be amazed how your small actions can change someone's life for the better.

When this opportunity came about I was thrilled. The people of Zambia were the most inspiring part of our assignment. We were so humbled by the kind nature of all the patients. Some patients had very little in terms of material wealth, but more than made up for it in happiness and good faith. The fact that we were able to use our professional skills to make such a large positive impact on the lives of many is something that will definitely stay with us forever.

 The most challenging part would likely be the testing conditions. On a number of days we had 6 Optometrists testing in a 6x3metre tent, which would often be on the side of a main road. However, we feel as a team we managed to excel even in the most challenging circumstances, and through that we became very close. Another challenge was the language barrier, but we were so fortunate to have an amazing Zambian driver David; who would test visions, dispense, translate and do absolutely anything that we needed help with! We were blessed with the help of two fantastically trained newly qualified Zambian Optometrists, Chipo and Gift. They had incredible amounts of patience and a brilliant work ethic. Their clinical skills were second to none, even with the limited equipment we had. Our assignment would not have had the same success without these three.

We think the most unexpected part was in fact just how safe we felt in Zambia. Everyone we had the pleasure of meeting were all so lovely, and made the experience heart-warming. We never expected that from a two week Vision Aid Overseas assignment we would leave having made friends for life, both Zambian and British.

If I was to give any advice it would be to go for it! You'd be amazed how your small actions can change someone's life for the better. Be ready for a whirlwind of a fortnight physically, and rollercoaster ride emotionally. If your experience is anything like ours you will leave a small piece of your heart there forever.