“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Mud Pies or Mud Bricks?

Just reading the latest e-newsletter from the charity and getting excited about the options I didn’t realise I had… This is a relatively new project for Original Volunteers, which the manager is proud to tell me means it’s an area where the locals have not yet become expectant of money or hand-outs from Westerners but instead they appreciate the generosity of the volunteers and are more than happy to exchange time and knowledge with those who are willing to do the same. The organisers want it to stay that way and so there are strict rules in place about what is acceptable and what is not; excessive tips or direct gifts to individual villagers for example is discouraged, mainly because in other areas of the world this has led to jealously amongst locals. That said, the project manager has recently started to build a register of local families who are happy to accept volunteers into their homes and teach them the traditional methods in use for everyday activities, such as farming or cooking, which of course volunteers would practise by helping out during their stay, giving them a true understanding of rural life in Uganda. In return they ask only for volunteers to make a £1 donation to the family when they leave.
This process is also working well with some of the local builders, who are happy for volunteers to try their hand at local techniques for brick-making or roofing….  but since they would generally be a hindrance rather than a help, a £1 contribution is required to pay for the delays their mucking about is likely to have cost the builder.
I personally think it’s a fantastic idea and intend to shadow a builder the minute I lose patience with the children… which of course is probably going to be shortly after attempting to teach my first class.

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