Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069
 

2nd August 2011

Rebekah Faldon: Initial report

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Its strange to think that in just 4 weeks time, on 28th August, I will have said my final goodbyes and travelled nearly 7000 miles. My adventure in Big Bend, Swaziland will have begun! Crazy! As much as I know Im going to miss home and all the lovely, familiar, smiling faces (I also know some will be reading this), I feel ready to go and do something positive with my life; I feel that need for a new and exciting adventure!

Having a working Gap Year in an exotic developing country has for many years been a desire of mine. Project Trust first caught my attention in a school assembly. Their aims matched perfectly what I was searching for from a Gap Year – to give those with enough enthusiasm the opportunity to immerse themselves in a completely different culture for 12 months, learning new skills along the way and returning home with a new perspective and clearer outlook on future ambitions. Later, after hearing a couple of past Project Trust volunteers rave about their year abroad, I decided this was definitely for me! Experiencing life in an entirely different culture to mine for a whole year and being able to contribute somehow to the lives of others, was exactly what I was looking for out of a gap Year. Shortly after attending a 4 day selection course in February at the Project Trust base on the Isle of Coll, my space as a 2010 volunteer was confirmed! Thats when the rollercoaster ride began!

The first challenge of raising £4,850 for Project Trust in just 5 months seemed extremely daunting (perhaps attending the last selection course of the year wasnt such a smart idea). However, with a lot of effort and determination from not only myself but my amazing parents and friends, the target proved to be more than achievable, even if it did mean sacrificing my entire social life, sleep and daily dose of Neighbours…!

To be one of just 4 volunteers in Swaziland is such a privilege. People I have spoken to, who have experienced life in the small African country, have all mentioned how culturally rich and friendly it is. I really hope to soon become a part of the vibrant community and cannot wait to experience their old ritual traditions and witness the sheer beauty of the country…minus all these huge creepy crawlies I have heard about.

For the next 12 months my days will be jam-packed, organising and getting stuck in to a variety of different projects and activities involving children of a whole range of ages. I will have my own room in the girls hostel of the highly approved Sisekelo High School in Big Bend. The day starts with Penny (my project partner) and I waking the girls up at 6am for room inspection…oh, were going to be popular! Whilst the students are at school we will deliver food to a nearby feeding station, teach in a couple of local primary schools and in an orphanage. It will also be our mission to encourage the high school students to volunteer and work with us within these poorer communities after their day at school. The students involvement in the different outreach projects not only teaches them valuable skills through working and interacting with young children but also means that projects could carry on running without an overseas volunteer being an absolute necessity.

Despite knowing that I have been chosen (for whatever reason) for this particular project, I still feel nervous about not having all the right skills or requirements expected from a volunteer. Also, the gigantic shift of normality and the great uncertainty in what lies ahead scares me massively! However, without these fears existing within me, the drive and excitement I have towards this incredible challenge would not be as immense. I am without a doubt ready and willing to put my absolute all into making this year, in a word, awesome!

Before ending my first report, I would just like to say a HUGE thank you! So many individuals and Trusts have been so amazingly generous by donating not only money but also time, patience and much needed advice. You have made the initial fundraising process so much more manageable than I ever expected. For that, I am truly thankful. I will certainly never forget all of your generosity and kind support, making this much anticipated year possible!

I look forward to keeping you up to date with my new experiences in Swaziland very soon! Eeek!

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