What a fabulous newsletter – it’s been so warming to read volunteers’ news and views (and we certainly need the warmth here in the UK at the moment!)
Recent emails and reports have been really complimentary about people and places – which is much appreciated – thank you! But far be it from us to blow our own trumpets … well … not too often, anyway!
I just want to share with everyone a few snippets from recently returned volunteers – every one of whom contributes towards ongoing growth and development in the projects where they’ve worked. And yes, many of you will recognise that the projects mentioned below are all in Port Elizabeth – I’ll concentrate on feedback from other locations another time!
I am really pleased to be going to work with the carers at Emmanuel and hope that I am able to help and support them in some of the fantastic work that they obviously do, but of course I am also a little apprehensive. I am also looking forward to working with the children. From what I have read of the other volunteers experiences all have found this very rewarding.
The orientation by Calabash was vital as it gave a real flavour of PE. It highlighted the different types of townships – black, coloured, Afrikaans as well as the more wealthy white South African suburbs. The tour lasted a morning and Nelson was very informative and energetic in his presentation. I had the opportunity to meet my colleagues at Emmanuel and this was comforting to me in that I finally had faces to go with names. In the afternoon there was a scheduled meeting with Paul at Calabash to hear the up-to-date news from the various projects.
I could see that this was something of great value even though each individual volunteer’s input possibly did not have a great effect immediately. The advantage of the way it works is that the process is cumulative in the long term and as one volunteer succeeds another, the school’s needs are addressed little by little. … I enjoyed especially the company of the district nurses who had come to work with the carers at Emmanuelle. Volunteers were supportive of one another and friendships were made. … In all, one of the most unique experiences of my life. Thank you to all.
Jennifer, school support
Just to say that Sheila and I had the time of our lives – we enjoyed every moment and it exceeded expectations. Paul Miedema is a wonderful person and I am full of admiration for his level headed and clear sighted commitment as he relentlessly yet gently moves the agenda forward. His staff are also admirable.
Eileen, school support
… great thought has gone into each project that has volunteer placements and everyone involved is committed one hundred percent, which is what makes this set up work and is a huge strength … the relationship between people and places and the local team is essential and both parties have got it right, which is so important to the individual volunteer and much appreciated. At all times I felt in safe hands and I was never left in the dark about anything, which again is very important.
Thanks everyone – for recognising that you’re a part of a much bigger picture – a small part, maybe, but vital nonetheless; for understanding that each volunteer is ‘passing a baton’ from one to the other; for appreciating the huge amount of work done by our local project management teams; for making the most of your experiences; for providing friendship and mutual support to other volunteers … and much more!
Roll on more of the same in 2011.
Best wishes and season’s greetings to all .