There is an old adage that says, “it is times of pressure that the true nature of one is revealed”. This in short describes the previous two weeks of working together as national and UK volunteers. This has been quite a period and one elder upon complaining said these wise words to me, “welcome to the world of grown-ups”. It has been a tough time trying to settle into our various roles and ultimately being able to deliver the required results bearing in mind the factor of time that is always not on our side.

Obviously, being the first cycle, we have had to make sure we hit the ground running in order to make the work much more manageable for the next cycles. The first week was dedicated to distributing the baseline surveys to all the out-of-school clubs and as well as analysing the information captured from the questionnaires distributed. This was necessary, as it helped us get a finer and clearer picture of the knowledge levels of our target group on HIV and AIDS, SRHR (sexual and reproductive health rights) and low input gardening. After this, we had to draw up learning sessions for the following weeks. It was smooth sailing and everyone was excited and happy.

Unlike the first week, the second week was amazing yet eventful, as we had to go to our clubs equipped to empower young people with knowledge and life skills. Our team was divided into two five-man teams in order to make it to all our appointments. Our first session was at Nketa Good Hope Club and what a great session we had. The team was happy to have come out all cylinders firing, which was important as they say “first impressions last longer”. 

The most memorable session thus far was at St Peter Youth Club. The turn-out was good and we could tell that the group had very high expectations - they were eager to see and hear what ICS was bringing to them. Because we had had a brilliant session before we let our guard down, assuming it was going to be easy pickings for us, but things went into a plunge. We couldn’t keep our time, we just did not hit our straps right and as a result we became emotional and less vibrant.  The debrief meeting after the session had everyone come together and plot the way for the next sessions, as everyone didn’t want to go through the disheartening experience again. 

We have managed to solidify our team dynamics whereby we allocate everyone a different role for each session and get ourselves more organised, as we understand that if we are to be taken seriously then organisation is integral so we are able to adapt to whatever situation. As a result, we have had better days and the best is yet to be seen of this team. After all, our theme as the first cycle is GO MAD GO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!! 

Written by ICS volunteer Sasha T Ngwenya