Archive for July, 2010
As we reach mid-year we did another survey to see what feedback and advice our volunteers would offer to the incoming volunteers who will take their place. Transition is hard and we really appreciate that our volunteers have always been very supportive to help prep new folks coming in to work with the children.
Here are some of the questions and answers.
• How did you learn about our project?
|Searched internet mainly for low cost volunteer options||
• What is some advice that you would like us to share with upcoming volunteers? It can be essential items to bring, kinder info, travel tips, suggested weekend excursions, etc.
~ It is worth treating yourself to Utila once, it is fun and can be done on a budget.
~ Bring a computer if you can, most volunteers like to use wifi and write on them at home. You can make your own decision about how much time you spend on it.
~ It is better to bring supplies for crafts and activities than gifts for individual children, although it seems like a nice thing, it is unwise to give presents, and they will just sit in the basement where the kids who see them will ask for them constantly and be disappointed not to get them.
~ Transition is hard, give yourself at least a few weeks before judging the program and/or how you fit in it.
• Please give an estimate of what you spent WEEKLY on the following:
~ Housing at the volunteer house - 300 to 400 Lempira a week.
~ Food – 500-700 Lempira per week.
~ Supplies for your work at the project – 100-200 Lempira each week.
~ Weekend travel – 300 Lempira a week.
• What was the most challenging aspect of your volunteer experience with HondurasChildren?
~ Working with people who live in such poverty because it breaks your heart to see how hard they work and how little they have. It is difficult knowing you have so much money and basically all you could ever need and seeing all the things they don’t have. Yet still they are very grateful and appreciative.
~ The program can only do so much in the community, and it can be hard to disagree or not understand those perimeters, sometimes even disagreeing with them. Since the dynamic between the organization and the people it is helping is so complicated and nuanced, often one’s take on it does not match up with the official decisions. That can be hard to deal with on a daily basis, while I know that there are reasons for these decisions, being the arm of them can feel bad.
~ Coping with misbehaved children without any support from their families.
~ Four months seemed so long when I first came to El Porvenir but now that I am almost finished, it is clear that I am only just beginning to gain an understanding of the issues that the children and the organization face each day.
• What was the very best part of your volunteer experience with HondurasChildren?
~ The people. I love the coordinators and the other volunteers and feel quite close to many of them. Even people you do not get along with well here have an intimate understanding of you and the complicated situation we live in here. This makes them like family. Also I love the children we work with and many people in the community very much. Learning about each child, understanding what makes them special, and knowing all the intricacies of their personality is a wonderful thing, and it makes it easier to help them grow and learn. Knowing all of the challenges in their little lives can be sad, but understanding the community better and the context for some of these small tragedies has been interesting and powerful.
~ Living and working with such fantastic people. Each of the volunteers who I have met has worked so hard with me and also laughed so hard, if that makes sense. Sharing these great times with these great people has been an experience that I will always treasure.
~ Working with the amazing children! Getting to know the real life in a developing country. Meeting and becoming friends with volunteers from all around the world.
~ Getting to work with such great kids! They are so amazing and wonderful, hardworking and fun! I really can’t even imagine how much I will miss them when I go and I know I will think of them every day.
Thanks again to all of the volunteers who shared some input about their experiences!!