My personal goal was to have an impact on the children, teach them subjects that would be usefull and inspire them. Also encourage them to be curious and interested in the world different cultures, news and information, but mostly to study, that way they can change their life for better, to be ambitious and think big. I also wanted to see the real life in Africa and visit the country that is known for being Africa in miniature.
On Monday and Friday mornings we gave health, language and culture sessions in the school (my sessions in particular were washing hands and brushing teeth), assisted the teachers in everything they needed and played with the kids during break. On Wednesdays mornings we successful implemented the sports day at school, a day in which we danced and played different sports with the pupils.
On Tuesdays and Thursday mornings we worked in the administrative part of the ngo, mostly planning the next project, the Summer Project 2013, designing booklets and dropping letters for possible sponsors.
Every working day from 17h to 19h we were at the orphanage, either delivering sessions or playing with the children. Until the 3rd week of the project we only went to one orphanage but on the last two weeks we worked also on a second orphanage (every Wednesday and Friday afternoon and Saturday morning), so on Wednesday and Friday we splited the team in 2 in order to go to both orphanages.
If I am honest my expectations of the project were quite naive. I had travelled alot before and I think I expected the project to be like my previous experience. I did not consider the working aspect of the internship at all. I applied to come on the project to meet people from different countries and experience a completly differenet culture. I wanted to give myself a personal challenge to see how I would cope lving a very basic lifestyle, far away from home for such a long time! After speaking to Sarah I thought I knew what my expectaions should be as I beleived our experiences would be similar.
My experience of the project was defintly nothing like what I had expected. I beleive it has been a once in a lifetime experience because never again will I be in the same place at the same time with the same people. I have learnt so much whilst being here that I hope will help me alot in my life. I have enjoyed meeting so many people. The main thing I will miss about African culture is that everyone is genuinly friendly and welcoming even to strangers they meet on the street! I have enjoyed learning lots about the country and the culture which I think is only possible if you live in one place for a long time and interact so closely with local people.
I have learnt a lot from being here. The most important thing I will take from this experience is that sometimes in life you have to get along with the job you have been given even if it is daughting or difficult or unfair. This experience has forced me to overcome the view that somebody else will always be there to do it for you if you think a task is too difficult. At the beginning I defintly tried to do the same espcially when faced with teaching a class of children in a language I didn’t understand! However the challenge was defintly a good thing because I am proud of some things I have accomplished here which I would have avoided attempting if I had been given the chance. For example after my first session in Banguoa I never would have thought I would be able to teach three hours of class alone to frenchh speakers but I managed to by the end! In terms of practical skills I have learnt how to talk in front of a group of people without feeling terrified and that I must speak much slower and clearer when talking to a group of people. I have learnt about the kind of management style I have when given the oppertunity. Being team leader for English was a challenge because I found it difficullt to order people I consider friends to do things but I have learnt that if the ultimate reponsibility for the task falls to you you have to do everything possible to make sure it is completed.
Rosa Willock, from UK, Volunteer 2012 for Summer Project