Chaos in Africa
Chaos in Africa
My name is Nadine and I participated in an AIESEC project in Mozambique for 3 month. Actually, my main reason to decide to participate in this Project was because I just wanted to see Africa. I would have chosen for any project, which was in Africa. So, actually there was nothing special about this particular project only that the AIESEC page said the project had to deal with nutrition and health issues. Maybe that was one reason why I gave priority to this particular project. I am very ambitioned about health and nutrition since I am vegan since a couple of years.
Well, when I then started the project it turned out to be slightly different (welcome to Africa!). It mainly dealt with teaching English to the children, which in fact I really was NOT searching for, when reviewing the given projects on the AIESEC page. Well, whatever I was in my beloved Africa. I just did align with the daycare and did whatever I was asked to do. I tried to teach English to the children in whatever way. And it was a quick course in working with Africans (or at least the leader of the organization).
When we asked him something about the language skills of the children, he just told us: ,,yeah…ehm…well… teach them English”…nothing more… we had no clue, what the children already new, we did know what she expected us to teach them in detail…so we just did our best. It was really a tough task, since there were so many children and they all had different ages (from 2 to 14) and we didn’t speak Portuguese and they didn’t speak English yet…so we had to be creative.
Beside the teaching we also participated in a great project which lead to my own project; organizing a Christmas part. For me the fun part of the project was to do the fundraising. The leader of the organization (Dona Luisa) new a couple of big companies who might be willing to donate some things for the planed Christmas party. We drove around and talked to the managers of the companies. Some of them said they will donate, but only a few really did. But the ones, who did, really gave a loooot of food and drinks. So the Christmas party was really successful. Over 200 children participated and we could cook a loooot of food for them so that all children had a really good Christmas meal. We even had too much food, so that it could be used for other days. Me and my roommate build a “christmastree” out of the paperboard we had left over from her campaign (she spend her money on a big fridge).
Additionally Dona Luisa asked me to start a campaign in order to collect money for building a bathroom. This campaign-thing in fact was listed in the job description on the AIESEC page, so this was one of the things that were no surprise for me ;) But still Dona Luisa had no conception about, for WHAT exactly I should collect the money, so again I had to be creative myself and just invent something. The bathroom was already in building, so I just thought why not supporting this.
The first thing, that came onto my mind was of course to just collect some images and post them on Facebook, with the request to donate some money. A lot of people knew from before that I will go to Africa for a while so, it probably was not very surprising for them to see this campaign. I think, at the end I collected around 400 Euros. Actually I don’t know, how much of the money really was spend for the bathroom. Some of the money we spend for the gas to drive around to the companies, and some money was spend on cement for a wall.
So my overall feeling DURING the internship was a bit moderate. I was very frustrated by the chaos and that people came to late at least 3 hours almost every day. I had the feeling that I was wasting my time there because everything was happening so slow, and I waited soooo much. Now AFTER I came back, I can say it was a good experience and I kind of miss those messy people ;). I really went out, learned to work in and with different cultures and got people moving. So after a “rough” start, it was a great adventure!