Volunteers’ Stories: Grace

Grace’s Story

“As the days counted down to my departure, I had plenty of mixed feelings about leaving, but I would definitely like to go back sometime. I think I will miss the staff the most. This was the experience of a lifetime – thank you RIPPLE Africa for providing such a wonderful opportunity!”

After all the excitement and anticipation leading up to my arrival at Mwaya, I was so glad to finally get there in September. It was great coming into a small group who had only just begun their own experiences; and I felt warmly welcomed by the other volunteers and as well as the staff.

Other than some trouble with my body adjusting to its new climate, the first few weeks to a month were perfect. I felt good about finding what works for me in terms of where I’m useful and where I’m comfortable. At first, I was interested in trying to help at Mazembe Primary School because I got on really well with Jane, the Headmistress. Soon, I realized primary school was not my cup of tea, and I became more involved with the pre-schools and also with the computer side of the Changu Changu Moto project.

I really enjoyed helping with the pre-schools. The children are so full light and happy, despite not having many things. Sometimes I feel like I get more from them than they get from me, but still I was glad to at least try and help where I could.

One thing I continued for the majority of my time was Art Club at Mazembe and Mwaya Primary Schools. Before I left, I dispersed the remainder of my art supplies between the two schools so they may continue.

The work at the office in Chintheche was a great reprieve for me in between the occasional drawing days with children. It felt so wonderful to be productive and to know that my skills were being put to good use in a way that was making a tangible difference. Towards the end, it was extremely satisfying to see things really get organised with the data entry after putting hours in on the computer.

As the days counted down to my departure, I had plenty of mixed feelings about leaving, but I would definitely like to go back sometime. I think I will miss the staff the most. This was the experience of a lifetime – thank you RIPPLE Africa for providing such a wonderful opportunity!

Grace (Volunteer, September – December 2012)

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