On International Volunteer Day we want to celebrate all of our volunteers around the world and in particular our in country volunteers from Rwanda, Burundi and Bolivia. One fantastic Rwandan volunteer, Innocent, let’s us into his volunteering experience…
Hi, my name is Innocent and in October, I joined the Tearfund ICS programme as a volunteer.
I was born in Rwanda and have spent most of my time in my country, which means I have not known how people from other parts of the world live, what they like, how they dress, how they interact with others and their perception of Rwanda and Africa.
I am lucky that due to my career in Journalism, I am used to reading a lot about different culture but living with UK volunteers has made me an eye witness to different culture.
We’re nearly at the end of our ten week placement and this is what I’ve learnt and experienced so far…
I’m a journalist so I led the Public speaking workshop, using what I learnt from school. I have also applied my experience in setting up a newspaper committee of students who will write articles for a school newspaper.
This is still in the early stages but I am glad to have started something which can be carried on by the students in future.
Researching this work and creating teaching courses to give to students has also increased my knowledge. The structured learning sessions have taught me about development issues, both recent issues and important knowledge of the world that we share.
I have learnt interesting/funny things about the UK culture…
People from UK are really amazing! Spending ten weeks with them has really inspired me and have seen things they do which were new to me. I cannot forget the induction day, when UK volunteers were speaking about the Do’s and Don’t’s in British culture.
Some of them which always come in my mind wherever I am, is saying the word” thank you” every time! Frankly speaking, I was not used to thanking everyone in different circumstances but through ICS, I thank everyone even when there is nothing special they have done for me. I got to know more about socialising with people from another culture and among what I have learnt about them are below:
|UK Volunteers DO||UK Volunteers DONT|
|Drink fanta but not mountain dew as it is not sold there
Say thank you, even when the answer is negative e.g. do you want chips? No, thank you!
Drink lots of water
Snack frequently than eating large meals
|Talk to strangers
Say someone is fat, even kindly
Ask someone their age
Above all this experience I gained through ICS, the most important one is the spiritual development I got. Attending devotions was quite fruitful to me ever since it was my first time to have devotions regularly.
Through the morning devotions, I have been giving comments more than one, leading it like once at AEE (African Evangelistic Enterprise), we were offered two days a week for leading morning devotions and being ought to translate for my UK mates made me always being aware of what others were giving comments about so that I may translate them.
This will, truly help me in my future as I have decided to have devotions at a time in my schedule after ICS.