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Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteer   (published in Tanzania)

December 18, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Before embarking on an experience as monumental as volunteering in Tanzania it is hard not to play the ‘what will it be like game’. It is hard not to start concocting images of what kind of bed you will have at your homestay, what impact you will be able to make on the local community, and what kind of cultural connections you will form. It’s natural, it will happen, but expectations should be kept in check as a volunteer enters a large community and network that is already established. Here are four reasons why being open to whatever your experience may be will actually make you a better volunteer.

1. Being Ready to Help Out in Whatever Way is Most Needed

Walking in with expectations about what your role will be as a volunteer might hinder your ability to help out in the way that will most benefit the project. There are ways in which you may want to help, or ideas that you have about how your skills will be best used, yet at the end of the day your placement has a good sense of their needs and how you can make the biggest contribution.

2. Embracing the Culture, Not your Idea of the Culture

Expectations often times include imagining what the culture or community that you are living in will be like. By engaging with a culture through the lens that you have created you are likely to miss out on the essence of where you are actually living.

3. The Ability to Understand the Big Picture

Often times before leaving home it is easy to predict how your presence will have an impact on the project that you are joining. The reality is that one person, one volunteer, is only a part of the overall group. Each volunteer must strive to understand the goals of their placement, without overly projecting their own ideas of what success and progress mean.

4. Maintaining Realistic Goals

The role of each volunteer is incredibly important yet sometimes expectations can make you feel as though drastic changes are possible in short periods of time. The reality is not as simple, and while every little bit helps change still takes time. 

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Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteerhttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/gtyler/read/375570/four-reasons-why-dropping-your-expectations-will-make-you-a-more-effective-volunteer
Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteer
 

Human Rights Organisation: Monthly Report   (published in South Africa)

December 17, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Human Rights Volunteer Jack Harrison from the United Kingdom wrote this month’s report, describing his experience of working on a criminal case with the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office.

Criminal Report: “On Thursday the 23rd of October, I went with criminal attorney, Sherwin, to meet two new clients who are currently incarcerated in the notorious Pollsmoor Prison, awaiting trial. We are only able to assist clients at Pollsmoor who are accused of 'petty crimes'.

 

The first step we had to take was to ensure that those we met were in fact those we could provide legal assistance to. The guards, despite our instructions, brought two men who we were unable to help. These men had to be sent away, unfortunately.

We were left with two men, who stood accused of crimes which we were able to defend them for. We interviewed them in one of the court video link rooms, with no guard present; this was an unnerving experience!

Our first new client stood accused of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm (GBH). He wished to plead not guilty. The client claimed that he was watching some minstrels performing in the street outside of his house. His friend, who had drank too much, was vomiting at the time.

A woman came out of the neighbouring house, and began to shout at them. At this point, someone threw a large stone or brick, hitting the woman in the face and causing her with a reasonably serious injury. The client claimed to us that he had not ever seen this happen before. However, his friend (who the client claims likes to 'play around') blamed him for throwing the object at the woman. The client maintains it was in fact this friend who threw the object.

Two days after the incident, the police came and arrested the client, as the woman had apparently reported him as the perpetrator of the assault upon her. The client's bail had been denied, due to him having several pending cases related to attempted murder and possession of illegal ammunition. He therefore had to remain in Pollsmoor until his upcoming trial.

The second new client was a previous client of ours, who was once again in Pollsmoor. The client was accused of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft.The previous case which we had assisted him with was also theft, which the client had been convicted of. This client wanted to plead guilty, as he had effectively been caught 'in the act'. One evening, the client broke into a shed, intending to steal hardware from within it. However, a loud alarm went off, and he was forced to flee the scene.

The next morning, the client tried to go back to the shed to retrieve the goods which he had attempted to steal. He discovered four grinders, which he placed into a bucket and tried to make off with. However, he was spotted leaving by a taxi driver, who kept him in place until the police arrived and arrested him.

This client had been unable to afford bail, so he was stuck in Pollsmoor until his trial. The client was very upset about this, as he had wanted to be home for Christmas. We immediately began preparing the defences of both of these clients.”     

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Human Rights Organisation: Monthly Reporthttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/southafrica-social-manager/read/375480/human-rights-organisation-monthly-report
Human Rights Organisation: Monthly Report
 

Journalism Volunteers attend The Global Youth Indaba   (published in South Africa)

December 17, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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The Global Youth Peace Indaba was recently held in Cape Town. The Indaba was sponsored by The Nelson Mandela Foundation, in partnership with the FW de Clerk Foundation.

The event was held for students from all over the world who had come to Cape Town in the hopes to attend The Nobel Peace Summit. However, the Dalai Lama, one of the most prominent speakers presiding over the conference, had his visa rejected by the Government of South Africa.

 The summit was cancelled since most Nobel Prize laureates, in a show of solidarity with Dalai Lama, decided to boycott the conference.

 Project’s Abroad Journalism volunteers attended the Indaba and had the opportunity to hear some very remarkable speeches, one of which was an inspiring speech on Leadership by former President FW de Klerk himself.

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Journalism Volunteers attend The Global Youth Indabahttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/southafrica-social-manager/read/375479/journalism-volunteers-attend-the-global-youth-indaba
Journalism Volunteers attend The Global Youth Indaba
 

Journalism Volunteers attend The Global Youth Indaba   (published in South Africa)

December 17, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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The Global Youth Peace Indaba was recently held in Cape Town. The Indaba was sponsored by The Nelson Mandela Foundation, in partnership with the FW de Clerk Foundation.

The event was held for students from all over the world who had come to Cape Town in the hopes to attend The Nobel Peace Summit. However, the Dalai Lama, one of the most prominent speakers presiding over the conference, had his visa rejected by the Government of South Africa.

 The summit was cancelled since most Nobel Prize laureates, in a show of solidarity with Dalai Lama, decided to boycott the conference.

 Project’s Abroad Journalism volunteers attended the Indaba and had the opportunity to hear some very remarkable speeches, one of which was an inspiring speech on Leadership by former President FW de Klerk himself.

(0 from 0 votes)
 
Journalism Volunteers attend The Global Youth Indabahttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/southafrica-social-manager/read/375478/journalism-volunteers-attend-the-global-youth-indaba
Journalism Volunteers attend The Global Youth Indaba
 

November Volunteer of the Month: Shane Waxler   (published in South Africa)

December 17, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Shane Waxler, 19, America

Music Project, 11 weeks

There’s nothing better than having a volunteer walk into our office and greet us with a huge enthusiastic smile.

That is exactly how 19 year old Shane Waxler stole the hearts of most off the staff here in the Projects Abroad South Africa office. Shane, who is currently studying music in the United States, is one of the favourite volunteers amongst our staff members.

Shane, who volunteered with our Music Project, teaches the children at Parkwood Primary school how to play musical instruments and read music.

Shane believes that music allows one to express their emotion in a harmless and beautiful way,

and preventing them from getting involved in activities that would have a negative impact on their lives.

 He loved that he was able to teach and also be an active contributor to the Projects Abroad music site, Sounds of The World. He had the opportunity to interact with local artists and assist them in gaining exposure.

 “I have learnt so much in such a short period of time, I know that my time spent here will provide me with lessons and relationships that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.” He says.

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November Volunteer of the Month: Shane Waxlerhttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/southafrica-social-manager/read/375475/november-volunteer-of-the-month-shane-waxler
November Volunteer of the Month: Shane Waxler
 

Exploration of Themes and Emotions   (published in Philippines)

November 19, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Eoin Kinsella is a disaster relief volunteer from Ireland. He loves art very much and does digital paintings and pen drawings. Creating images is very important to him on a creative and personal level as it is a passion he discovered at a young age, and he continues to develop. The portraits he draws are about light and darkness, finding interesting contrasts on the face.

His paintings are an exploration of themes and emotions which he feels compelled to create.

 

 

Some of the paintings are inspired by what goes on in our minds, emotional distress and suffering. Other paintings are inspired by hope and the power and resilience of the human spirit.

 

 

Thank you so much Eoin! :)

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Exploration of Themes and Emotionshttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/Ludette/read/373300/exploration-of-themes-and-emotions
Exploration of Themes and Emotions
 

Exploration of Themes and Emotions   (published in Philippines)

November 19, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Eoin Kinsella is a disaster relief volunteer from Ireland. He loves art very much and does digital paintings and pen drawings. Creating images is very important to him on a creative and personal level as it is a passion he discovered at a young age, and he continues to develop. The portraits he draws are about light and darkness, finding interesting contrasts on the face.

His paintings are an exploration of themes and emotions which he feels compelled to create.

 

 

Some of the paintings are inspired by what goes on in our minds, emotional distress and suffering. Other paintings are inspired by hope and the power and resilience of the human spirit.

 

 

Thank you so much Eoin! :)

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Exploration of Themes and Emotionshttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/Ludette/read/373299/exploration-of-themes-and-emotions
Exploration of Themes and Emotions
 

We grow by giving.   (published in Philippines)

October 9, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Hi folks! Time flies by so fast and we can now say hello to the “ber” months! As I’m sure you’re all too aware, in November last year, typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. The massive destruction incurred by that super typhoon was indeed a nightmare.  Houses, hospitals, public and private infrastructure were destroyed yet people never lost hope. We would like to extend a massive thank you to our Projects Abroad volunteers who, in one way or another, made a big difference by rebuilding classrooms, working in the hospital and in the health center, and assisting teachers in schools.

 

It has been five months now since I started working for Projects Abroad. So far, I have enjoyed being the communications officer for the Philippines. Making friends with volunteers from all backgrounds is simply wonderful. I have learned so much from my team here and, of course, from the volunteers as well. It has broadened my idea of cultural exchange and the value of humanity.

 

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our contributors, Marieke, Tessa, Matt and Dr. Terry-Anne, for their inspiring stories in this month’s newsletter. To all of our volunteers, we cannot thank you enough for your efforts in completing another project. Thanks to your hard work, Banban Elementary School and the Jovencio Nailon Masong National High School have two classrooms now. This was only made possible by all of you and we will be forever thankful for that. Time is one of the most precious gifts a person could give. It is something that cannot be taken back once it is spent.  You don’t just help rebuild structures but you are building lasting friendships and memories that nobody can destroy. 

 

As the old adage goes, “people don’t take trips, trips take people.” 

 

 -Ludette 

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We grow by giving.http://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/Ludette/read/369318/we-grow-by-giving
We grow by giving.
 

Dental Outreach: For a more beautiful smile! :)   (published in Philippines)

October 9, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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As a doctor in the UK, Dr. Terry-Anne Jennet was delighted when asked if she would be interested in leading a health promotion campaign at Jovencio Nailon Masong National High school in Bogo City. In her everyday practice as a doctor, she promotes a healthy lifestyle to her patients on a one-on-one basis but she had never taught on a larger scale before.

 

Although apprehensive, she took up the challenge to hopefully educate and inspire young people. Over two afternoons, she had the chance to talk with the 7th and 8th grade students at the high school, of which there were 130 in total.  In particular, she taught personal and dental hygiene as these were noted to be problems at the school. She also educated the students on dengue prevention.

 

 

With the help of Thea, the volunteer coordinator, Dr. Jennet delivered an interactive presentation covering the importance of a healthy diet, exercise, personal and dental hygiene, water sanitation and dengue prevention. The students responded well to the interactive components of the session and enjoyed the group activities and videos. They also performed very well on the group quiz at the end.

 

After the session, Projects Abroad gave each of the students a toothbrush, toothpaste and a bar of soap for their personal use. Terry felt it a privilege to have taught such enthusiastic students and she hoped that the little information she imparted will inspire them to lead a healthy lifestyle and educate others. 


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Dental Outreach: For a more beautiful smile! :)http://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/Ludette/read/369315/dental-outreach-for-a-more-beautiful-smile-
Dental Outreach: For a more beautiful smile! :)
 

The Philippines teach the value of entering a foreign country with an open mind.   (published in Philippines)

October 9, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Matthew Reif is a Japanese-American volunteer who came to the Philippines to have the opportunity to live and work in Cebu for three months.

He worked at the medical project, which supports the Bogo City Health Office (CHO) and Cebu District Hospital-Bogo City, formerly known as Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital. As both facilities suffer from typhoon Yolanda, and labor and supply shortages, Projects Abroad offers both institutions the help of volunteers and funding. We also offer disaster relief in the form of rebuilding schools and homes damaged in the wake of Yolanda.

At the CHO, Matt worked in the laboratory drawing blood from patients, running drug, pregnancy, and blood type tests, and assisting lab personnel. He also went to barangays with nurses and midwives to help with vaccinations. Furthermore, he worked with TB patients (taking their vitals and weight) and went on medical missions (dispensing medication and taking vitals). At the beginning, he worked on the logistical side of things and did paperwork. He was then delegated greater responsibilities, which he was happy to accept. In the hospital, he made rounds with medical technicians collecting blood work from in/out patients, assisting in the delivery room with pregnancies, and working in the ER. He found himself pleasantly busy in both facilities.

“I learned how medical care looks in a developing country as I’m only really familiar with the American system,” he said.  “It’s really an eye-opening experience to see a system where medications, technologies, funding, supplies and skilled staff are considered luxuries when they are what you’d just take for granted at home. I knew that medical care in the developing world wasn’t like it was at home but my experiences in Bogo made me see just how stark those differences were,” he added.

Matt felt satisfied that he had made a difference as he was able to make himself useful in the medical system of a foreign country. The cultural differences were evident both in his work and after hours with his host family and other volunteers. “The people here are warm, friendly and welcoming wherever you go, and that made approaching them very easy even with the language barriers. As for my future endeavors, my time in the Philippines taught me the value of entering any foreign situation with an open mind,” he said.

As for Matt, he can’t really pinpoint a defining experience of his time in the Philippines but he’d rather argue that everything that happened made the experience memorable.  He loved the warm atmosphere and welcoming nature of the Filipino people whom he met.  At first, he was worried that people would be apprehensive or distant as he was a foreigner but the reception he received was quite the opposite. His host family welcomed him into their home as if he was one of their own, saying on the night of his arrival “you are one of our family now”. 

Matt’s advice for future volunteers is to “come with an open mind, without even the slightest preconception of what awaits you. Trust me, it’s far more rewarding that way”! 

 

 

Matt Reif

Medical Volunteer, USA

 

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The Philippines teach the value of entering a foreign country with an open mind.http://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/Ludette/read/369309/the-philippines-teach-the-value-of-entering-a-foreign-country-with-an-open-mind
The Philippines teach the value of entering a foreign country with an open mind.