Archive for the 'people and places history and info' Category

Paul was – a gladiator – a huge force for good

Friday, April 21st, 2017

It has taken me some time to put pen to paper – well digit to keyboard –  to write about the horrible loss of my friend and our partner, Paul Miedema.

My first reaction was to write about the loss – huge loss – for his family and friends and colleagues at Calabash; the communities they work with; volunteers; and indeed to me as a friend and people and places as a partner – but I wasn’t comfortable with writing that way –  it took me a while to work out why.

 

Paul was – a gladiator – a huge force for good – a passionate advocate for the people he worked with – confrontational – an inspiration.

For me he was a loyal friend – a teacher – a partner – a mentor.

That’s what I want to remember – what I gained by knowing him – not what I have lost.

When Harold, Kate and I decided we wanted to develop a responsible volunteering programme Harold told me that all his experience in responsible travel led him to believe that Paul Miedema at Calabash had to be one of our first partners. I was quickly convinced……Paul wasn’t….. (more…)

Paul was always my role model….

Friday, April 21st, 2017

by Dianne

The partnership between people and places and Calabash was already well established by the time I

Dianne with Joe Slovo principal Mr. Gqunta -on her most recent visit

came onto the people and places team and one of the first visits I made in my role as education advisor was to Port Elizabeth.  Paul and I worked well together from the very start and it was immediately apparent how much Paul cared about our partnership work at the different township schools and at Emmanuel, and how committed he was to using volunteering and tourism as a force for good.

 
Paul was always my role model for what a local partner should be.  Whenever I have visited other countries to help set up new partnerships I have found myself using descriptions of the way Paul worked as examples of good practice.  Even when I was asking him to do potentially boring administrative work for us, such as updating our support plans for the projects or chasing questionnaires from the schools, he totally understood the reasons for doing such tasks.  With Paul, I feel we had a genuine partnership, all of us on the same wave-length, with each of us contributing our knowledge and ideas to the work we were doing together.

Every volunteer I have met who has volunteered in Port Elizabeth, at Emmanuel or on the Schools Support programme, has spoken very highly of the support they received from Paul and the Calabash team.  They certainly set high standards for others to live up to!  I hope Paul realised how very much he was loved and respected.

It is so hard to believe that Paul is no longer here, but I look forward to continuing to work with our partners at Calabash as we continue his work.

The way Paul conducted weekly meetings so impressed me

 

Paul defined the word “authentic”

Friday, April 21st, 2017

a weekly meeting at A V Bukani School

Paul Miedema changed our lives. It is through Paul that we connected with the A.V. Bukani Primary School community, a wonderful place we now consider our second home.

But Paul did more than connect us – he was our support, our mentor, our ally, and our friend. Just a few weeks ago, we had a long conversation with Paul about a possible sixth volunteer trip to Nomathomsanqa.

 

Paul defined the word “authentic.” He had no tolerance for BS and never sugar-coated anything. And that is why we absolutely trusted him. We knew he would tell us the truth. How often do you have someone in your life that you can trust like that?

Paul was devoted to two things – his daughters and his country. And they were closely tied together. He worked tireless to build a strong South Africa that he could leave for his children, and one that would support everyone’s children because he knew you could not separate the two. A strong South Africa had to promote respect for every person of every background or it would not be a strong country.

Paul is one of those people who truly made a difference in his daily life. Our hearts are breaking that he cannot continue this work. And yet his legacy is the many colleagues he supported within and beyond Calabash, as well as the many volunteers whose eyes he opened and whose hearts he inspired.

You will be missed Paul. Thank you for all you gave to us and everyone around you.

Eileen and Larry

(frequent volunteers with A.V.Bukani School since 2009)

(more…)

Dianne visits our Cambodia volunteer projects – old and new

Friday, September 30th, 2016

CAMBODIA – PROJECTS NEW AND OLD FRIENDS 

Dianne

Dianne

by Dianne Ashman, volunteer programme advisor

As I write this article I am right at the end of my latest trip, to visit our projects in Cambodia.  I was last here in 2011 working with Michael, founder of ConCERT who are our local partners here.  On the ‘tips for volunteers’ sheet Michael and I compiled in 2011 he asked that volunteers bring a jar of Marmite with them as he and his family love it and it’s hard to get hold of here, so on my arrival at Siem Reap airport I was not at all surprised to see someone holding up a large sign saying

GOT ANY MARMITE?

(more…)

a really great visit to Chitardai, the school our volunteer programme support in India

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

DSCN7987I have recently returned from a really satisfying and encouraging trip to India.  I went to visit the school where our volunteers work, Chitardai Upper Primary School, in Rajasthan.  I have volunteered at Chitardai twice myself, in 2010 and 2011, working with the English teacher in his lessons and helping all the teachers to develop their school motto ‘Learn Through Play’ by showing them a number of techniques for active learning – I must confess it’s my favourite of the places where I have volunteered.  Other volunteers have taken a similar approach: bringing books, games and a variety of other resources to show the children (and teachers) that learning English can be fun!  Like all of us who volunteer, I have sometimes questioned whether the resources I took to Chitardai were really relevant and useful to them, and whether the teaching techniques I demonstrated to the teachers would ever be used when I returned to the UK.  So it was fantastic to see on this trip that some of the teaching strategies and resources taken to the school by me and other people and places volunteers are now embedded in the school.  Some examples . . .  (more…)

why was April 23rd an important day?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

CIMG1233April 23rd 2016 . . . St George’s Day, Earth Day, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death . . . and, most importantly of course, the day we held our latest volunteer social!  This time we met at volunteer Val’s home near Hemel Hempstead, the weather was kind to us, and we all enjoyed a lovely sociable afternoon catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.  There was a good mix of previous volunteers who could tell us about their placements in a variety of different countries and potential volunteers who wanted to find out all about how people and places works and were keen to learn more about the places where they might volunteer soon.  We try to find venues for our socials in different parts of the country to give everyone the chance now and then to come to a social not too far from home, but some volunteers had made the effort to travel quite a long way to this one, and we must make special mention of the new volunteer who flew in all the way from Donegal!

It is interesting that at some socials the focus seems to be, quite by chance, on the projects in just one or two of the countries where we volunteer.  At last November’s social there happened to be a lot of volunteers who had either just returned from or were just about to go to South Africa, and our different projects there dominated the conversation.  This time the flavour of the month was definitely Cambodia, with new volunteers in particular wanting to know all about the volunteering opportunities there.  They will of course need to go through the matching process to make sure their skills and experience match the needs of the projects there, but it certainly looks as though Cambodia can expect several new people and places volunteers later this year!  You can read more about our volunteering opportunities in Cambodia by clicking here and here.

Thank you once again to Val for hosting this social in her lovely home – we hope your family enjoyed eating up the left-over food!  Our socials are always such an enjoyable way to catch up with each other’s news, and we hope to see many of you again at our next social later in the year.

Watch the latest volunteer interview videos taken at this social here

Watch volunteer Robert talk about why and how he has chosen to volunteer with people and places and how important the volunteer social was in this decision.

 

12th November – our next volunteers’ social in Faversham

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Yes, I know – November’s a long way off, and you’ve only just read Dianne’s report about this month’s social meeting near Hemel Hempstead …

But we also know that everyone’s diaries seem to get busier all the time, so we wanted to give you early notification in the hope that many of you will be able to come along to our volunteers’ social meeting here at ‘head office’ (aka Kate’s home!) in November.

The usual 1-5 p.m format – plenty of time to chat and share news of the projects and volunteers’ experiences, as well as meeting new friends and making plans for the future!

We’ll send out further details later in the year …

Meanwhile please email Kate if you’d like to put your name on the guest list !

local groups: putting you in touch with other volunteers who live near you

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

If you have told us that you would like to be put in touch with other people and places volunteers who live not too far away from you, you should by now have received a contact list of email addresses for volunteers in your area.

We have always encouraged a new volunteer on a particular project to make contact with others who have volunteered there before as a good way of getting to know about that project.  However, meeting with other volunteers who live near you should enable you to find out about people’s experiences at a variety of projects in many different countries.

people and places network

people and places network

Hopefully some of you have already taken the opportunity to meet up with each other.

If you would like us to publicise group meetings in our newsletter or to share any photos or news, please do let us know.

how did that happen ?! people and places-responsible volunteering is 10 years old –

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

It’s 10 years since we placed our first volunteer!     10

There’s a “curse” that many erroneously believe is Chinese –

“May you live in interesting times.”

There is a wonderful Xhosa word – “Ubuntu” – which has no direct translation into English but portrays the qualities of humanity and compassion – ‘I am because you are’.

Well, boy-oh-boy, have the last 10 years been interesting times for people and places – successes to celebrate  and challenges to overcome – boy, have we been blessed by Ubuntu!

We were going to write some clever 10 point lists (apparently people are more likely to read lists!) – but (more…)

Important message to all volunteers re a BIG email problem

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Gee thanks and Happy Christmas to you BT Internet!

IMPORTANT note to all our volunteers and friends who have btinternet email addresses – there is currently a big problem surrounding BT and the service it uses to filter messages – and the vast majority of our emails to btinternet email adresses are being rejected.

Please make sure you add us to your safe sender list – and if you think you should have heard from us – please email – we are getting your emails just cant respond – with either another email address or a phone number.

heavy-sigh1

 

 

We have recieved notification that manyour volunteers and supporters have not recieved our latest newsletter due to this problem  – here is the link to the latest newsletter