Volunteer stories : Lisa J., General Care Projects in Ethiopia
My name is Lisa, I am from Luxembourg and I stayed in Ethiopia for the last 3 and half months. During my stay there I was working in a private kindergarten, which I enjoyed very much. The teaching staff were very kind and immediately made me feel welcome. The work was great but I also enjoyed the time that I spent with the other teachers during the breaks (lunch time).
Most importantly the work with the children was quite amazing. Being a private kindergarten, the school was well organised and the children studying here are really lucky. A big part of this successful teaching method was down to Ayantu, my supervisor. She is great, always having new, interesting ideas and inspiring me and the other teachers a lot. I always enjoyed helping her creating new activities and I somehow became an artist, drawing nearly every day. My favourite classes for teaching were the nurseries (the 1st grade). Having fun with the children by singing, drawing, telling stories and basic teaching (abc, numbers) was really rewarding. After 3 months the development the small kids made was clearly visible.
The most positive aspect of my stay in Ethiopia was my host family. Being a big family (7 children around my age), they received me as a family member and immediately made me feel at home. I especially appreciated my host mother. She is a strong and amazing woman and I feel like I have found a second mother. Living in such a ‘normal’ family brings one close to the Ethiopian society. You experience how they live, their daily problems, which I think is very important to learn about a country and to understand the people.Living in that family I never felt like a visitor, I just felt like one of them.
The kindness and love this family showed towards me was underlined by one of the daughters’ choice of selecting me as one of her bridesmaids on her wedding after knowing me for just one month. She was getting married the day of my departure, so I had a pleasant, interesting and busy last day. Weeks before the wedding the house was full of people, family coming from all over the country to help with preparations. On the wedding day the two other bridesmaids and I were wearing the same purple dress which we rented some weeks before. What impressed me most was the quantity of pictures being captured that day. In the evening we were tired of smiling. In addition to this the whole day, every step was filmed. I am very thankful for this unique and special experience.
Even the travelling at the end of my stay I partly did with my ‘host sisters’. Going out of Addis was a nice and interesting experience. I visited the very touristy places such as Gonder, Bahir Dar and Lalibela. I mostly enjoyed the calmness and the nature which I missed in Addis. All these cities are very different, they have their own charm and they are worth a visit. I preferred the ‘Blue Nile Falls’ near Bahir Dar which are very impressive but also the atmosphere in Lalibela is somehow extraordinary.
Of my whole stay in Ethiopia I won’t forget a moment, I had a great and constructive time and hopefully I will go back one day to see more of this wonderful country.
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