At the start of Raymond’s journey, he explained “…at the time when I joined Raleigh in 2004, I was unemployed, I was struggling, I didn’t really know the direction of my life, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, my life was a little bit road-less, …a bit confused … tempted by all the challenges…– you find like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, all of these negative social issues that you are faced with in your community – all these temptations, so that was kind of my life at that time… I wasn’t sure what is going on and where am I going…”
Raymond explained “the friends that I had before Raleigh was, maybe not the best group of people to hang around with. But after Raleigh… I developed a little bit of ambition and I got a bit of clarity of what I wanted to do and… I remember very clearly that I started losing some of my friends because I felt like you know what, I think a bit differently, I see things a little bit differently now. You can’t change your whole life in three months but to some degree, I felt a bit different and I started to associate with different people. Those were some of the very clear things that I remember after the expedition… I saw there’s actually a very big world out there, that I could potentially have an opportunity to go and see so maybe hanging out with these people will continue to limit my thinking and limit my ambition.”
As a next step Raymond used Raleigh’s feedback when applying for further volunteering or job opportunities. He explained “I confidently stated that I possessed these skills… because I was aware that I have [them] through feedback from Raleigh.” This sent him in the direction to say “youth work, this is my future, this is where I’m going, this is what I’m going to do” and looking back he explained “obviously the project leaders at the time felt that I had potential and that was kind of like the kick up the backside that I needed.”
Raymond described what happened next: “I finished my expedition in November, beginning of December 2004, a few months later I joined SCORE [an international non-profit organisation specialising in community development through sport and recreation] and that experience, that kind of experience of working with different cultures and the exposure that I received, that really helped me because I went to South Africa and it was a foreign country to me … I spent one year there in a very remote village…, I was able to apply those skills that I learned through Raleigh, how to adapt and make the best of things. I was working there and of course, in terms of what I contributed, from what I learned from Raleigh, of how I applied it, it is about you come in and you are foreigner in a community and people look up to you because they were told that you are coming to do sports development here and they have to buy into it. They won’t buy into it if they don’t buy into you and I thought the three months with Raleigh that opened my eyes to working with people from different cultures, different backgrounds, different social economic backgrounds, that really gave me the background to blend in very quickly into that community in South Africa… Raleigh really gave me that opportunity to understand culture better and kind of set the tone for how my life turned out afterwards.”
Since then Raymond has worked across the world, including Fiji, Zimbabwe, the UK and Norway. This feeling not only has influenced Raymond’s life since, but has changed the next generation too: “how I raise my children is very important, so it’s about encouraging them and giving them the platforms and opportunities to go out there and see the world and find out what’s going out there. I think for me, that’s the biggest impact that Raleigh has had on me, that I’ve experienced something that I will definitely pass onto my children and this is like you respect other people, you respect other cultures, people will be different than you and there’s nothing wrong with that, you have to embrace that, you have to respect that and then especially be exposed, go out there and experience things, you see opportunities like that, someone tells you that you have to walk with a backpack with 25kg inside for three weeks, then you go and you try that and you live these types of things.”
Today, Raymond has been with SCORE for eleven years and is now National Manager in Namibia.