Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Connecting" in Tanzania

It was about 10 days into our service project, around 12:15PM and my son Jack and I were walking back to the Mission House from a tiring morning of hauling five gallon buckets of water, gravel, sand, and cement around the job site of building the new kitchen at the Secondary School. As we approached the Mission House, Jack said to me, "I'm exhausted. I think I am going to go take a nap and skip lunch" (you know a 14-year-old boy is tired when they want to skip a meal!).

No sooner were these words out of his mouth than off to our left we heard the voices of little kids calling out to him, "Jackie! Jackie! Unacheza mpira???" All fatigue instantly vanished from Jack's mind as he took off full speed to go play ball with the kids! He LOVED playing with those kids.

He had such an incredible time in Pommern -- from his friendship with our team leader, Edward Mgeni, to our team, working alongside Dr. Godlove, or the friendships he made throughout the village. It nearly broke my heart watching him say goodbye to those kids on our last day :)

Thank you all at Global Volunteers for all that you do to foster such amazing relationships around the world.
- Amy Kleissler

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"Each Day Makes My Heart Sing"

I'm teaching conversational English in India.

For me, each day makes my heart sing. At the end of an especially exhausting one, a Grade 4 girl with a beautiful smile rushed in and took my hand.

"You come back, please. You are the best. My story made me happy," she beamed. She had been in my class that morning where I had the students personalize a story, then read it aloud. Her happiness made my day.

One of my assignments was with five 13-year-old boys. We played words games and wrote stories. I soon figured out that the cool dude who was the leader of the pack was an expert at appearing to know more than he did.

When I discovered that he couldn't complete his work, he quickly diverted my attention with, "You look nice, you have a nice smile". He didn't know many words, but he knew how to use them.

At the orphanage they held a touching goodbye ceremony when we completed our two weeks of service. The children sat on the floor and sang songs. Some did a dance, then they all came up to say a personal goodbye.

There was a special glow in that room and it affirmed, for me, that a volunteer vacation is the way to go. And if you are up for a real challenge, head for India. You won't regret it.
- Judy Lees, India Volunteer

Friday, July 02, 2010

Serving in the Tatra Mountains of Poland

Thursday was another picturesque day here in Zakopane. I continue to be impressed with the cooperation of the students, work ethic of the volunteers, and the organization and effectiveness of the Global Volunteers program.

All of the sessions are moving along well. It shows how curious learners, prepared instructors, and diversified activities lead to a successful learning environment.

Sam's yearbook continues to be a favorite of the students. It's interesting how effective something from a peer and real life situations can be.

Today's hike took place at Gubalowka Mountain. (Again an American keyboard does not allow for the correct entry of the name of this mountain.) This venue provided a challenging climb for those determined to take it on, but a beautiful view and relaxing descent for all on the modern chairlift.

The day concluded with a movie at an open air theater in Zakopane. This is a free event, with popcorn and other refreshments, sponsored by Orange Telecom.

Rumor has it there might be a kickball game on Monday, our time to celebrate Independence Day, between teams coached by Cindy and Cortney. Read more of our team blog here!

Contributed by Steve R.