When a volunteer group arrives in a village instead, of staying all together in a central location or using temporary accommodation, local families throughout the community open up their homes and welcome up to four volunteers to stay with them. As well as providing the practical things such as, food, shelter and water they help the volunteers to feel part of the community by welcoming them into their family. One relationship that stands out is the one between volunteers and the mother of the house or Mama.
Many volunteers may be missing home so the relationship and bond they build with their homestay Mama can be very comforting, which soon results in homestays feeling like a home from home.
Beth, one of our Volunteer Manager’s said, “during phase one, I was in Ihanu village on the NRM project, our homestay Mama Heleena was the friendliest and most welcoming lady. When I left, we exchanged gifts of Kanga’s to remember each other by.”
Becky and Lottie who are both venturers were also in Ihanu during phase one and added, “everyday, we were greeted by our Mama with a warm welcome and a hug. She was constantly smiling and happy to have us staying with her and her family. It is amazing how much of a relationship you can build just through gestures and smiling.”
One Mama in particular has captured the hearts of many of us. Her name is Mama Matrida and she has welcomed lots of us into her home in Chimlata over the past two phases.
Volunteer Managers (VMs) Harry and Stafford sat down and chatted to her about what it is like to have volunteers living in her home.
Mama Matrida – “Welcome to my home….Be happy….Be free”
VMs – What has it been like having the volunteers in your home?
Mama Matrida – “It’s been great to have volunteers here. I have enjoyed caring and taking responsibility for my family. When the project is over and everyone is gone, I will miss them.”
All the way through the chat Mama kept stressing how content she was to host volunteer managers and venturers saying, “nina furaha, ” which in english translates to “I’m happy.” We ended the chat by saying thanking her and wishing her a wonderful Mother’s Day.
We would also like to wish all of our homestay Mama’s and Mum’s at home a happy Mother’s Day, we hope you enjoy your day.