We got involved with GVI as when we were researching programmes, GVI had the most to offer. It had a broad range of programmes from Wildlife and Marine Conservation to Women’s Empowerment to Teaching. And every single one of the programmes we looked at with GVI had an aspect that someone liked and wanted to be a part of. Eventually, after taking time as a group to decide, we chose to take part in a programme with Sports Teaching and Construction in Gordons
Bay, South Africa.
Week 1: We started the first week off with assisting in a sports summer camp. We left the house that we were staying in at quarter past 9 each morning to go to the local playing field to start the morning with some games. The children were from all ages, there were children as young as 5 and as old as 13 there each day. We started each day off with some songs which they seemed to love, and then played a few games such as tag and British bulldogs. We also played throwing, catching and batting games with footballs and tennis balls. At around 12 o’clock we left to go eat some lunch and then came back at 1 to serve them all a hot meal that someone had locally provided. We did this each day. After lunch, we played some more games such as duck duck goose or played some batting games.
Week 2: After a week of sports teaching we then went on with our construction project. We were helping to paint and re- decorate a story room and set up a sick bay within a crèche. The first day, we were filling in holes in the walls, clearing out the sick bay and giving the walls a good clean. On the second day, we started to give the walls a paint and this continued into the third day too as they needed a second coat. During this time, we painted the cupboard doors and doorframes to try and brighten up the crèche. On the last couple of days, we were painting our murals onto the walls and moving the furniture back into the rooms.
What I really love about GVI, is how much money and effort they were willing to put into the projects that they hold. They didn’t do a half job. They bought the crèche new bean bags to sit on for the story room and a bed for the sickbay. The teacher was incredibly grateful to us and GVI, and it was a wonderful thing to witness when she came into the room. I also loved the fact that GVI spent time to put together a special programme for our youth group as we all wanted different things and I thought this effort was amazing. Not only do they cater to the projects they hold within the communities needs they also cater to the volunteers. We did face challenges during these two weeks. One of the most difficult things I have ever faced was having to refuse a little girl when she asked me to buy her something nice. She was so kind, and so accepting when I had to say no, but it was incredibly difficult to refuse. It was also very hard to deal with the conditions of the crèche, as there were many spiders and a dead rat in the cupboard, and it was incredibly upsetting to think how long it had been in that condition, how they couldn’t change it and the fact that that was meant to be a medical room for children.
The Staff who were with us for two weeks, Jack Allison + Charlotte Goodwin, were absolutely brilliant! They both made our group feel completely at ease and at home by playing fun games at night time and doing compliment cups which made everyone so happy (where everyone in the group writes a compliment per day for someone and puts them in that someone’s cup.) They were always there if we had any questions about anything and are two amazing individuals who are an amazing part of the GVI team They were a main reason why our experience in South Africa was so life-changing and wonderful.
GVI has impacted my future in many ways. the whole trip made me become more of a positive person, it made me realise that even on a bad day, there is ALWAYS going to be someone worse off, and seeing it first hand, has made me realise how true that saying is. It has made me stop thinking about all the negatives in my life and to start focusing on the positive and instead of counting what I don’t have, to start counting what I do. But most importantly it made me realise, that I am incredibly lucky to have a home, a decent government, a healthcare system that everyone has access to, an education, a family who love me and opportunities, I can go to college or university if I want, it’s my choice, and it’s a choice not many get and after this trip, I am so thankful to be privileged enough to have an option. GVI has shown me something that I don’t think I will ever forget.
We received training before we left. We did a 12-week fitness programme to prepare for the sports, had culture training and had conflict resolution sessions with a mediator to help us deal with issues that may occur while on our trip. However, we also received training after we got there, the adults who we were with carried out risk assessments and went through what we would be doing during the days we were on project to make sure we knew what we would be doing and making sure we would be safe.
My advice to someone who is thinking of joining a GVI programme, is to not be scared, worried or nervous. I was so nervous before going onto projects when I was on my trip, but then realized quickly that I had wasted time being scared. In my experience, the adults who work and volunteer for GVI are all
so helpful and explain things so well. There really is nothing to worried about:)