Comments from a volunteer who taught French in Brazil
"My work here is always interesting, challenging and rewarding. The students are separated
into four groups. Lise continues to teach the students in group 1 (the beginners) and I am
in charge of the other three groups. In group 2, their knowledge of the French language is
very basic but they are still able to put together simple phrases. Group 3 is advancing and
they are able to express and defend ideas in French. The fourth group is quite comfortable
with French. At this level, we listen to a lot of French music and watch television shows
in order to encourage their understanding of the language. The students are starting to
ask me a lot of questions about the show "Pure Laine". They are definitely learning
Karine Brunet, Brazil, November 2008
A day in Burkina Faso ...
"It has been a busy week! On Tuesday, we celebrated Ramadan since there
is a large Muslim population in Burkina. It was a great experience.
The whole family gathered together to visit cousins, aunts, uncles and
distant relatives. We arrived at the house, sat down and ate tons of
different food. We ate at every house!!! And we visited five houses!
I ate way too much and to top it off the family wanted to provide a
warm welcome and would always encourage me to eat more."
Joelle Lavoie-Vigeant, Burkina Faso, October 2008
Reflections from a volunteer who went to Philippines
"I only have one word to say: WOW! I lived through an extraordinary experience
in the Philippines. It’s exactly what I was looking for and exactly what I
needed. I wanted to thank you and Jonathan for introducing me to this! (...)
Social interactions were hilarious because often the locals couldn’t speak any
English and I had to learn the basics of Warai-warai! But we didn’t have any
problems because everyone was so patient and kind hearted towards me. My host
family and the house we lived in were extraordinary. I had the opportunity to
meet fabulous people who would go out of their way to make sure I felt at home.
Also, it was amazing to meet volunteers and travellers from all over the world.
Finally, I also had the chance to travel a bit... the Philippines is an absolutely
Marie-Eve Pelletier, Philippines, February 2008
Stories from Josie Pilon, an intern at an orphanage in Burkina Faso
"I feel like I’m in a trance! Does that make sense? When colors are more vibrant than you have ever seen? When you can smell something from a mile away? When whispers sound like screams, so loud that you can’t even sleep... I’m having sensory overload! And I’m ready to experience all of it. Maybe this is all because I was so sick this weekend with the stomach flu. No, that’s not it! And I know just what it is!”
A Returned Volunteer’s Story: Physiotherapy Internship in Peru
I hope everyone is doing well. It’s been awhile since I’ve emailed any updates, so here it is!
I’ve been pretty busy for the last few weeks, preparing for an International Congress on Inclusive Education for children with disabilities. I gave a presentation on the role of the family in the rehabilitation of children and a workshop on practical exercises to use with disabled children. It was a great experience. On a side note, I presented in Spanish, without an interpreter! And to think that just two months ago I was reading my little Spanish book on the airplane, wishing that I had taken language courses before I left. Overall the Congress went really well, aside from some last minute organizational issues, but other than that everything went smoothly. I was really impressed with the quality of the workshops and the level of commitment from the people. There were representatives from Cuba, Chile, USA, Canada (me!) and Peru.
Tomorrow is Halloween and we will be having a big party! Monday is a holiday for everyone, and apparently people go to the cemetery to commemorate the dead and celebrate with food and music. Should be interesting, I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like. I’m dressing up for our party as a Bajaman. Let me explain. The buses here have a driver but also a conductor who screams out where the bus is going, collects money from passengers, and screams BAJA (down in Spanish) and SUBE (get on), to get the passengers to hurry up. They also have to run off the bus at checkpoints to get a control card punched. So that’s going to be my costume for tomorrow. I promise to show you pictures!
I will finish off with some random thoughts, thinking of you and sending my love from Peru!
- The children at the school are getting ready for their First Communion in two weeks. The main goal of this therapy for one of the children is to be able to take communion so you can see how important religion is here!
- After two months of living here, I still go to the supermarket and the cashier warmly greets me by saying WELCOME TO PERU! Not sure if the other expats who have been living here for several years get the same treatment, but it’s too funny!
- Sometimes people on the street ask to take photos with us so that they can have a picture of a foreigner.
- The soap operas here are so cheesy! I thought the soaps at home were bad, you should see these.
- The other day I took a siesta on the beach and while I was sleeping a giant wave came and soaked me, my backpack and my dictionary. I was soaking wet. My return home to get changed did not go unnoticed!
- So many other stories to tell... they will all come back to me when we are chatting upon my return (one month to go – time goes by too fast!)