Interview with Monika Grzelak

Monika Grzelak 03Monika Grzelak came to Zambia on the 9th March after six months working as a volunteer in Kenya. Let us discover her journey of life.
What is your background?
I am a 25 year old Polish woman. I got my diploma in Social Studies at the University of Nicolas Copernicus in Toruń. I also got a Master degree in Education in Warsaw. My parents are still at home with my younger brother. I quit my job last year and left everything behind to fulfil my dream to come to Africa. I have no fear. My basic trust brings me the necessary freedom I need to be where I am today. I love it.
How did you made your way up to Zambia?
After half a year in Kenya, I wanted to know more about Africa. This continent has always fascinating me. So, I went to Dar es Salaam and bought a ticket just two hours before the departure of the train. Forty-eight hours later, I stopped at Kapiri Mposhi where I met a Polish Sister from the Congregation of the Holy Family. Two days later, I took a bus to Lusaka without knowing anyone. I didn’t have any idea what to expect. Simply, I was hoping to find a place where I could do some voluntary work. I was directed to Good Shepherd Parish at Kabwata and met Father Vitalis Dero. He phoned to Jacek Rakowski who came within fifteen minutes. I was so enthusiastic about his description of Home of Hope that my decision to become a volunteer was taken on the spot.
Monika Grzelak 01Is it not surprising for a young woman like you to travel alone in various African countries as you did? Do you really need to travel so far to do voluntary work?
As a matter of fact, I have always been a volunteer, even in Poland. It is part of my life. I like to discover new places, new cultures and new people. What really matter for me, besides helping people, is simply to be with them. My few weeks at Home of Hope have been great. My only regret is my lack of knowledge of the Chi Nyanja language. Time was too short.
Have you shared your experience with other people?
Yes indeed! Just few days ago, I met a Zambian woman working in town. She found it bizarre that a stranger like me came from so far to do voluntary work in Zambia. I felt that she might become herself a volunteer soon.
You will be leaving Zambia in a week from now. Which prospects do you have once back to Poland?
I will be going back to Dar es Salaam by train. Then, I go back to Kenya once more to work for two weeks in a small home for disable boys. Finally, I should be back to my country by the end of June. Once there, I will look around to find a job. I will add my experience in Africa on my C.V. adding that it has been the best time of my life, so far. I am pretty sure to come back again. I feel as if I could go anywhere.
What is your most important discovery in Africa?
You know! The mentality of the Polish people is not always easy to understand. They have the tendency of complaining about anything, even when things go well. Very often, my friends feel worry about me when I am telling them that everything is fine. Life in Africa is by far harder than in Europe but people are smiling. There is a taste of joy here which attracts me.
Monika Grzelak webpageFor more information about Monika, see her webpage on


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1 Comment

  1. John ITARU. M.Afr

    Dear Monika, I am so happy to read your interview! I am fascinated by your objectivity, at least by reading the interview, about what you are thinking of my dear continent which most of the time is underrated for different reasons both subjective and objective. Congratulations for your missionary spirit and I am sure you will be a light for many people especially the youth who need other youths like you to reactivate their sense of hope.Nice to hear that you have also passed though my country in Dar es salaam. All the best and God bless your mission.

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