Katy Watters on Project Trust training for Otjikondo

 

Katy Watters

Finding Project Trust

Nine months ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that I would even come close to spending an entire year overseas. I went on a Project Trust selection course on the Isle of Coll having done some research. Yet, I still didn’t really know what lay ahead of me and didn’t really believe that it was something I would ever be involved in. Now, I have just over a month left until I board a plane which will mark the beginning of my journey to Namibia. I won’t be back until August next year. It’s an exciting yet truly terrifying thought.

I knew that I didn’t want to go straight into university, but for a long time I swithered about taking a gap year. I had been unsure of how to fill all the time I would suddenly have. The name ‘Project Trust’ was fairly familiar to me having overheard it several times in conversation. But it wasn’t until a returned volunteer, by chance sharing a flat with my older brother at university, told me about her experience volunteering in Thailand that I really knew who the organisation were and what they did.

I did a lot of online research and started getting ideas in my head about where I could go and what I could do in the coming year. Project Trust gave a presentation at my school and it was the final push I needed to sign myself up for a selection course. So, I headed out to the Isle of Coll.

Training on Coll

After just finishing months and months of fundraising, I returned to Coll recently for my training course. In many ways, training and selection were a similar experience for me. For both, I was surrounded by outgoing, confident people, trying to take in as much information as possible in the short space of time we had, and feeling utterly exhausted by the end of the week from the continual whirlwind of emotions. Particularly at the beginning of each course, I felt very overwhelmed and wondered what on earth had possessed me to pick such a challenge for myself.

I am typically much quieter and more introverted than the majority of potential volunteers I met on Coll. So, it took me a while to convince myself that this opportunity is something that I am capable of doing. I worried that I wouldn’t get along well with my overseas partner. Or maybe I wouldn’t be able to teach interesting lessons. But, by the end of training, after meeting and instantly connecting with my partner Rachel and also being encouraged to teach and sit in on creative lessons, my fears are mostly diminished.

New confidence

Training was intense to say the least. However, it was such an important week with lots of opportunity to chat about Namibia and to speak to the volunteers, Skye and Izzy, out there at the moment. Most importantly, after all of it I have a new-found spark of confidence that is waiting to be fed through the learning experiences this next year will present me with.

I can’t wait to get out there to Otjikondo and to start this new chapter. It would be naïve to imagine it will all be plain-sailing and that I will love every single minute of my time there, but it will be the low points that make the highs so much more enjoyable and I know that this is an opportunity that will change me for the better.  I have been told that, a year from now, I won’t want to leave and I’m so ready to learn all about a new way of life, a new culture and a new part of the world.

To Hazel’s Footprints, I would like to say a big thank you for all your help so far, for supporting me in the year ahead and for all the knowledge you’ve been able to pass on to me about Otjikondo. From everything I have heard, it is an incredibly special place and I am so grateful that I have the chance to make a difference there!

 

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