Volunteer: Gareth Lacey
Program: Bulenga, Kampala, Uganda
My Favorite Memory:This is a difficult question but I think I would say going down the hill next to the church and the water pump. Losts of people were carrying their water in the opposite direction. Music was playing in the church and the sun was setting. People were waving and smiling at me as they passed. It was very “African”.
I was surprised that….I was given a class of 13 year olds to teach for a week without any prior teaching experience and after only half an hour of reading a maths book
The most difficult thing I experienced was… trying to keep the noise down in a class of around 70 pupils in a large classroom.
My best received lesson… That even a pencil is such a valuable item in Uganda as shown by the looks on the pupils faces when I gave out pencils at the end of my last class.
Tip for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
Find out exactly what sort of work you will be doing when you get there. If possible try to speak to your co-ordinator before you leave. Mix with the community and take up every opportunity the experience gives you.
Personal Paragraph (Testimonial):
Really enjoyed living in the village and working at the school. Everybody was so friendly and welcoming. I was very well looked after by the ABV co-ordinator and his family. Its a great experience to work and live with the community for 4 weeks. The only frustrating part is that I wasn’t given a programme of work at the school as promised and had to persuade the individual teachers to give me classes. I spent longer in the staff room prepping and not teaching as much as I would have liked. The pupils were great and seemed genuinely excited that I was at the school. It was an unforgettable experience.
How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the USA, and in-country?
The ABV co-ordinator looked after me very well and I felt he took his responsibility for his volunteers very seriously and that he would have dealt with any issue that arose to the best of his ability.
How would you describe your accommodation ( ie: host family, on-site, shared housing etc)
The accommodation was fine. There was no running water most of the time but this wasn’t a problem.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?