A spontaneous march across the Zambian border on foot (Photo: NCA)
Over 150 young people from Norway and across Africa are currently travelling by bus from Nairobi to the COP 17 climate summit in Durban, South Africa, with a message of climate justice. The caravan has now arrived in Zambia, where it were welcomed at the border by a band, and by a group of young Zambians ready to join the group! The caravan’s participants poured out of the bus convoy and walked on foot across the border.
Tired but happy
It’s episodes like this one that recharge the atmosphere on long bus journeys. Many days, the caravan’s participants have had to wake up at 4am in order to be on the road in time. In Zambia the weather is also very hot, also inside the buses. As they trundle along, some participants sleep, while others discuss how climate change is already affecting their native countries.
“Extreme heat is one of the changes we are already noticing here in Zambia,” explains Justina Zulu to the others on her bus.
By the time the caravan arrives in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, the participants are visibly weary. And still, when the bus pulls up to a stop, Prince Wilondja from DR Congo stands up and starts dancing in the aisle. In his t-shirt emblazoned with “We have faith” logos, he makes a sight for sore eyes.
After ten days on the road, participants are tired, but still moving. (Photo: NCA)
It’s the community spirit on the buses that Steinar Grastveit and Eline Elnes, both Norwegian members of NCA youth organisation Changemaker, highlight when they are asked to sum up their experiences so far.
”The days have been very long, but the atmosphere has been great. It’s been so interesting to meet so many people who feel so strongly about climate issues,” says Eline.
Steinar has been inspired by the caravan, and he promises to bring his experiences back to Norway and share them with other members of Changemaker:
“I’ll bring home a whole lot of hope from this trip. Hope, because I now know that it is possible for young people from different backgrounds to achieve important results through working together. This caravan proves that,” he says.
On Wednesday, a large climate change-themed concert was held in Lusaka. Local artists and artists travelling with the caravan played alongside one another, and parts of the concert were broadcast live on Zambian national television!
There will also be a concert in Livingstone before the caravan crosses into Botswana.