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Want a deeper insight into what an ICS placement looks like? Read the amazing blogs written by our past and present volunteers. Enjoy the journey!
Three weeks in El Salvador and if the heat doesn’t kill me then the excitement will. Working as a volunteer for Progressio is turning out to be the once in a life time experience I hoped for. Our group is working with a women’s rights organisation, IMU, who aspire for gender equality through families. A typical day includes helping to create sustainable gardens, topped off with an afternoon of English classes.
Imagine staring at your home of 16 years submerged underwater, watching your livelihood and possessions floating away and being powerless to do a single thing. This was the stark reality for Ana Joseph Fernandez during a period of non-stop torrential rain that led to extreme flooding in October 2011 that left 32 dead and more than 20,000 displaced in rural Ahuachapán, north of El Salvador.
“I was completely homeless for 15 days, all four of my children became sick due to the contaminated water and I had no money to treat their illnesses.”
Monile mosi (Greetings everyone) from everybody here in team Mzimba!
Week 2 has been another eventful and challenging week. This week, we visited and introduced ourselves to more community groups, including a Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) group and two more Village Savings and Loans (VSL) groups. Another important focus this week has been to further integrate ourselves into the local community.
To say the least, the first week in Mzimba district has been interesting, educational, challenging and daunting. The first day that we arrived in Mzimba, Sunday 15thJuly, we met the three volunteers we would be working closely beside for the next nine weeks. The three volunteers, Harriet, Joel and Kondwani, all work for the partner organisation we have been assigned: Tovwirane HIV/AIDs organisation (THAO).
On arrival and orientation
After a 13 hour long flight our group finally landed at Harare airport safe and sound, with a ball of excitement rolling in our stomach we were picked up by Tsitsi, from Progressio Zimbabwe. As soon as we stepped out of the airport, we were welcomed by the soft Zimbabwean morning sunshine, together with the smell of the fresh cut grass and the wind gently blew away our tiredness, before we headed to the accommodation to settle down and get some rest.
The week before I left the UK was a little manic to say the least. Saying goodbye to friends and family clashed with collecting 40 boxes of doxycycline and watching my travel nurse let half of my final rabies vaccination leak onto her hand. At this point it felt like I was simply going through the motions, it had not sunk it at all that I would be living in Zimbabwe for the next 6 months. That was soon to change.
Muli wuli from team Mzuzu!
We have been polishing up on our Tumbuka language skills in order to make our work with Ungweru, a local non-governmental organisation, even more enjoyable.
Ungweru has eight focuses in which have the opportunity to become involved: HIV/AIDS, Water and Sanitation, Natural Resource Management, Education, Youth Empowerment, Human Rights, Food Security and Information and Communication.
Some of the highlights of our last weeks include our business management and marketing workshop (pictured below). We had a number of members from the HIV support groups there. We received positive feedback and hope it will be useful in the future and allow them to start managing their business, finances and markets better.