Legacy is a funny concept to define, yet it is one which we, as the fourth cycle of a four cycle programme at Simukai, have been tasked with ensuring. The ten men and women that make up this team will be the final group of individuals working with Simukai and its beneficiaries in the rural area of Rowa. As such, it falls to us to provide not only a positive conclusion to what has so far been a highly successful Progressio ICS programme, but also to ensure that everyone’s hard work throughout these four cycles has not been in vain and will have made a permanent positive change for all whom we have been helping.

As you might imagine, every team is unique, with each person contributing their own skills, background, and knowledge to our overall output. As a result, to find out a bit more about each other we asked everyone to write a few things about another member of the team. We gave them no instructions so let’s see what they came up with.

Felicity (written by Adiona): She’s 24 years old and studied development studies. She is incredibly passionate about working with marginalised groups such as orphans, the disabled, and women. Felicity wants to know more about development issues such as poverty, HIV and AIDS, along with working cross-culturally with the UK volunteers before she goes to study in the UK, at Bristol University. However, on top of this, Felicity has a kind and generous heart, thinking and caring about others before herself. With her positive and hard-working attitude, there is no doubt in my mind that she will make an excellent student of sustainable development. I wish her the best of luck in her studies and I’m so excited to work with her at Simukai.

Adiona (written by Felicity): Adiona is 22 years old and currently studying development studies. She wants to further understand and learn about development issues in a practical rural environment. She has a cheerful nature and is very exciting to be around. Adiona always loves to see other people happy and that is why I found it easy to make friends with her already because I love to laugh a lot and I think everyone loves to see other happy people. That’s why she is more than willing to work with vulnerable populations and assist in sharing ideas and skills to help improve their way of life, thus transforming lives for the better.

Kristi (written by Shawndell): Kristi is 21 years old, born and bred in Manchester and is the youngest of her siblings. She is so laid back that there are regular checks that she is not horizontal. Despite her easy going attitude she has a huge passion to help the less fortunate. Kristi has a black belt in Taekwondo so don’t take her kindness as a weakness! Kristi has a degree in English literature and creative writing (so a pretty clever cookie) and is about to embark upon her teacher training. She has more patience in her pinky than I have in my entire body, so she is definitely going to be an awesome teacher. She joined ICS after her friend took part and she wants to be part of the positive change that the programme is making - plus she loves to travel, so that’s a bonus. There is no doubt that in the beautiful Ms Kristi Bates I have a friend for life.

Shawndell (written by Kristi): She is 23 years old and is from Dundee. I have probably only known Shawndell for about two months yet it already feels like I have known her my whole life! She is a very passionate person and has such a kind and generous personality that she demonstrates through her work. She joined ICS because she has always wanted to help others and volunteer abroad. I have no doubt that Shawndell will have great success in her future career as a social worker and I’m extremely excited to start working with her here at Simukai.

Tanya (written by Balbina): Tanya is 24 years old and has a cool and sociable character. He fits well within the team and always has a serious sense of humour. I have only known him for a month and yet it already is a remarkable one having him around. Tanya joined ICS for exposure, work experience, and because he has always wanted to have an experience of cross-cultural working. However, he also has an eye for the ladies and I think hopes to find a girlfriend from the placement. I hope that he is really enjoying the placement and will meet his personal development goals and ICS objectives.

Balbina (written by Tanya): Balbina is 24 years old. She is everything really. She is intelligent, hardworking and always pushes everyone in the group to be better and to have a huge smile on their faces. And if that wasn’t enough, she also has an amazing voice - she sings a lot at work. Balbina is an international studies graduate from Midlands State University. She joined ICS for the cross-cultural work experience and to put her studies into practice. She fits well within our team and uses all her knowledge to help us. I like Barbs’ character the most because when she is around it’s never a dull day. I am so happy to have her in our team and hopefully in our lives forever.

Marek (written by Chris): Marek is 22 years old and lives in Stoke. He is originally from Slovakia, however he still has an accent that reminds us of Borat. We met at pre-departure training and immediately bonded over the fact that neither of us snore. He has an incredible and almost improbable positivity that is overwhelming and cannot but help to improve the day of everyone around him. He is a fan of a good conspiracy theory and can argue for hours about the legalisation of drugs. He joined ICS to experience a new culture and, in his own words, ‘to make the world a better place’. He has started doing lots of exercise but there hasn’t been any noticeable difference yet. However, three months is a long time and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather work with than Marek.

Chris (written by Marek): Chris is 18 years old from London. The first time I met Chris was at pre-departure training, where we shared a room. We shared a room at in-country-orientation and are now living in the same house. I’m glad he doesn’t snore. What I know about Chris is that he studied at Eton and is going to study at Oxford later this year. I also know that he is originally from China but has lived in the UK for pretty much his whole life. Chris likes food and sleeping, and joined ICS in order to meet new people and gain new experiences. Chris is friendly, kind and likes to have fun. That’s it.

Sammi (written by Faa): Sammi is 26 years old and is a marvellous UK Team Leader who is always trying to keep everyone positive and motivated - even me. She joined ICS as a Team Leader because she wanted to improve her leadership skills in a different environment. In addition, she has a passion for helping others improve their lives. Sammi is energetic and I really think she is the right counterpart for me since she is chatty and positive. I am looking forward to working well with her and being close friends.

Initially when meeting Sammi you would see a formal, no fun, hardworking lady and might be a bit sceptical about working with her. But after you have talked to her, you will be overwhelmed with the brightest smile and unending laughter, and this has made work easier. I am so lucky to have her as my counterpart because she brings out the best in everyone and is currently in the lead with the team’s personal development. She is an amazing life coach and her passion for the project gives the Rowa Runners the motivation and zeal to do more and to do better.

Faa (written by Sammi): So let me introduce our fantastic national Team Leader, Faa, who is 25 years old (although for the first two weeks I believed she was nearly 30 - Zimbabwe joke!). We are lucky to have her on board as she was a Rowa Runner volunteer in the last cycle and really knows her stuff! Her passion and enthusiasm for our cause comes through in everything we do, particularly the Early Childhood Development Centre. The ECDC is our special project and Faa is at the forefront of our mission to get this off the ground.

We are just as lucky to have her because she is just awesome and effortlessly cool! Once you crack her hard shell and work out what she saying with her eyebrows, you will find a big softie underneath. Passionate, witty, surprising, and lots of fun – I have got myself a great counterpart and true friend.

Wish us luck for another great placement. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Written by ICS volunteers Chris and Tanya