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Abdul's Experience

Just because you don't exactly know what you might gain from visiting Zambia right now doesn’t mean you won’t gain something completely new from the experience. So just do it and you’ll find cool things happening around you." — Abdul Kassamali

Abdul high-fives local Chalokwans

Abdul Kassamali is a Seattle-based filmmaker. He volunteered with KiloWatts for Humanity (KWH) in 2016, when he was studying electrical engineering at Seattle University. Abdul travelled to Chalokwa, Zambia, where KWH was implementing an energy kiosk for the community. While there, where he served on KWH’s energy kiosk installation team and the media team. Abdul enjoyed being responsible for taking photos and videos during his time in Zambia. Abdul said, “As part of the media team, my main responsibility was documenting the entire process, from leaving Seattle to our time in Chalokwa and Lusaka [Zambia’s capital]. Although, I did help out with some of the actual installations, my main job was actually documenting the trip.”


Abdul described the connections he made while in Zambia. He remembered, “Although it has been years since we visited Zambia, I can still remember a friendly person named Karim [a General Electric employee], who helped us a lot. I felt like I made a genuine connection with him. It was also my first time meeting [KWH co-founder] Dr. Louie. I had heard this professor was quite strict and professional in his work. However, getting to working with him in the environment was very pleasant and exciting. He taught me a lot, and we developed a good relationship that lasted through my senior year, and after college as well.”


His trip with the KWH team reminded Abdul about his childhood, bringing back many of his memories. Abdul stated, “The thing that surprised me the most about the trip was how the natural environments reminded me of my life when I was in Africa. Kenya was the place where I was born and raised until I was 13. Although this was my first time visiting Zambia, I saw many similarities between Lusaka and Chalokwa and my hometown in Kenya.


One thing Abdul enjoyed in particular was interacting with the children in Zambia. He said, “Every time I got my camera on, the kids would be surrounding me curious about how they would look through my lens. I remember one specific time where I was recording, and I turned the screen around so they could see what I was filming. I can still remember everybody gathering around me, pointing at the camera and laughing. This will definitely be an unforgettable memory in my life.”


Abdul will tell anyone that, if they find an opportunity to travel with KWH to Zambia, grab it. He said, “I would love to do it again. Initially, when I decided to attend the trip, I thought I would only learn things related to electrical engineering. However, things always don't follow the path. I found my filmmaking skills grew immensely during my last trip to Zambia. If I got a chance to visit again, I would love to direct a full-on documentary about the amazing views and people I met in Zambia. This trip really helped to clarify where I want to go with my life.

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