The Asia Pacific Emergency Appeal has raised over $3,000 for the Philippines, over $2,000 for Samoa and over $1,000 for Vietnam. We will be posting further updates over the next few weeks on the total raised as well as the difference these funds are making. A huge thank you to all donors for their generous donations! If you haven’t yet donated please click here.
Gwen Jones, a past volunteer on our Tanzania program, certainly had an unplanned experience during her volunteer placement. While volunteering at a class for children with special needs at Kawe School in North Dar Es Salaam, she met a six year old girl named Tatu Shabani. As Gwen watched the children play, she noticed that Tatu would fall face down in the mud every time she attempted to run with the others Tatu suffers from Bilateral Club Feet, a condition where both feet turn inwards. Although Tatu has learned to walk on the outside of her inwardly rotated feet, as her body grows her poorly developed feet will no longer be able to cope with her body weight. The hospitals Gwen visited in Tanzania had three child patients to each bed; due to this lack of resources and overcrowding, any operations Tatu had in Tanzania would likely be unsuccessful, similar to the foot operation Tatu had as a baby which failed to correct the problem.
Two new articles have recently been added to our website at http://www.volunteer.org.nz/press. One features GVN staff member Erin Cassidy and her experiences volunteering with her young son in Uganda, while the other is a transcription of an interview about oil exploration in Ecuador.
The 15-year-old Russian girl shuffled when she walked, afraid of giving her legs the freedom to take her where her eyes could not see. She had a small wristwatch that spoke the time and grandparents that dutifully set meals down in front of her. Beyond that, her blindness had blackened her world.
“Had she approached the trip differently, she might have come back disappointed. But Amber Burridge, a resident of Calgary, knew that to travel and work in Uganda any other way would spell disaster. In fact, she had been warned.
“I had a friend that had gone to Malawi and she told me to expect the unexpected when I was in Uganda,” Amber said. “I was told, whatever you expect, things are going to be different. So I tried really hard not to expect anything and to keep an open mind. I just decided to be ready for a world that would be vastly different from my own.”
Amber volunteered in Uganda for six weeks, where she taught in a primary school and trained HIV/AIDS counselors. The world she encountered in Uganda, was, indeed, like nothing she had ever experienced.
“Isabelle Pury, a Swiss citizen, saw Costa Rica by sunset, sunrise and, mostly, by moonlight. During the day, she was resting. But she wasn’t a weary traveler; she had come to Costa Rica to work. Isabelle volunteered through GVN to work on a conservation project rescuing endangered turtles on Costa Rica’s scenic Pacific coast.”