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… we realised we just want to say thank you for and to :-
- All our wonderful volunteers – we have always said we were in this for the long haul and the skills transfer work we are doing would not show instant results – but with each year we see how the volunteer programme has supported, and is supporting, local people to build the lives they want for themselves – this is the volunteers’ work, not ours.
- Our partners in the countries where we work – their commitment to the communities they work with – their support of the volunteers – and their tolerance of our demands.
- The projects who have shown such friendship to the volunteers – true Ubuntu.
- The homestay, hotel and guest house owners who care so well for the volunteers.
- The recognition we have received for our work.
- The travel writers and bloggers who have helped us to get the message out there about responsible volunteering.
- The experts who have supported us (usually pro bono or for generously discounted fees) be it computers & websites or accountants and lawyers.
- Child protection, development and responsible travel organisations and consultants who have shared so much valuable information with us pro bono.
- OK – here are the only two names in our thank you list! – Harold Goodwin and Adama Bah – who talked us into starting people and places.
- Repeat 1 to 9 above – loudly and often – THANKYOU
….and we thought we’d share our wish list!
- More volunteers – we’re approached by really worthwhile potential projects and local partners on an almost daily basis – but we cannot commit to support them until we are supporting all the projects we work with now – and to do that … yep … we need more volunteers!
- More responsible volunteer organisations – there are still a lot of bad organisations out there that are exploiting volunteers and local communities (we started people and places to campaign for change) – there is still a lot that needs to change.
- Better press coverage of the issues – we passionately believe that well-prepared and well-matched volunteers can and do make valuable contributions to the “projects” they work with – all too often the press condemn bad practice without promoting good practice (and we don’t just mean us – there are some great volunteer organisations out there – finding them is not easy)
- More hours in the day and more days in the week
- We lose fewer friends to disease, natural disaster and poverty than we’ve lost in the first 10 years.
- The Nepali government sorts out its volunteer visa/work permit – we have volunteers with their bags packed (OK, I exaggerate) ready to work in Nepal as soon as it is no longer illegal to volunteer in Nepal without a work permit.
- A better understanding of Search Engine Optimization (or whatever they call it nowadays) so that we could appear high up on web searches with the large organisations that can afford to pay for the privilege!
- A time machine ……………so we could visit all the countries where we work – and hope to work one day – more often
9.More kindness in this world
10.More volunteers 🙂
PS – did we say THANKYOU?
PPS – Did we say our No 1 on our wish list is to place more volunteers?