Expedition volunteer

“I volunteered in Tanzania with Raleigh International after being referred by an organisation called People’s World Carnival Band where I was a member of their youth club. They work with young people from Tottenham and the Haringey area.

Before volunteering with Raleigh I didn’t really have a plan, but being out there with the other volunteers who have been to university or who are going, has made me think I’m missing something in my life. I’d really like to go to University now, and maybe in a different country to get a new cultural perspective. That’s my number one priority now.

Before my Expedition I was working for Haringey Mencap. They do a lot of work with less-able adults. We help them become more independent and able to be part of the community. Before that I worked for Haringey Council, working with young people. I was a youth worker for a year, I had volunteered there for 4 – 5 years, and then was given a job, but after the cuts I lost my job.

I wanted to do a Raleigh Expedition because I’m keen on helping people whenever I can. I’ve done a lot of volunteering before, I have been to China, volunteering on an environmental project run by the British Council. China is amazing, it influenced me to experience different cultures.

My boss at Mencap, Angie, was amazing. She helped me so much, practically, financially and emotionally. She reminded me of my achievements and was incredibly supportive throughout, I couldn’t ask for a better boss!

Interaction with the community was my highlight. Working in the village of Endashang’wet was an incredible experience. The community was so friendly and the landscape views are breathtaking. We did household surveys and got to know the people. I remember this little girl standing outside one of the houses, she was so friendly. I put my sunglasses on her and she just shone, being friendly with all of us. That kind of experience is priceless.

There was real teamwork on all of our projects, between all the volunteers, volunteer managers, villagers and fundi (builders.) I got on with everyone so well. At first some of the villagers used to look at me as if to say “why can’t you speak Swahili?” That was a little strange at first but it was interesting to challenge people’s perceptions of you. Some people had never even left their village before so it was a new experience for them.

On Raleigh I’ve learnt to be more patient. Life back home is always a rush, you always have to be at a place at a certain time and have no time to yourself. I’ve learnt to take time out for me, even if that means waking up super early to sort out my stuff. It gets you in a good mindset, and gets you ready for the day. I’m more confident in myself and in terms of working with a group.

Every volunteer had a chance to be a ‘day leader.’ That really helped me massively in being able to get your point across and leading in a team. It’s been very beneficial.

I just want to say thanks to everyone that has been there, being patient with me. Just thanks for an amazing experience. I’ve met some great people who I’ll stay in touch with. Thanks Raleigh.”

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