UAC ist Volunteer Zeugnisse
Pedro Freitas, 1970, Lisbon, IT Technician (May to July 2015)
It is important to be ready for all eventualities that might occur in an experience like this, a different country with different conditions and culture. It is also important to understand that things in Africa work differently, but they actually work. Despite the fact that infrastructures are still not as good as we would like, the people from UAC were exceptional in the help they gave us, they really make us feel at home. The projects I worked were only defined when I arrived at Molyko, but I was always free to work on whatever I wanted and at my own pace. In these 3 months it was possible to: create a new site for the UAC, create an offline e-learning platform to allow access to some offline content in remote villages (like, cartoons, wikipedia, etc); create a software application for management of UAC schools and with help of friends and family, it was possible to bring around 230 Kg of school equipment, computers, toys and clothes for children. It was possible to handover the money for the sponsorship of three children for a one year education at Jamadianle school (raised by colleagues). I would highlight four people: Mr. Orock, a natural leader and a natural communicator. He silenced the protests of an audience of about two hundred people showing them lettuce…Unforgettable!; Mr. Thomas, the man who is always “around” to fix almost everything and that made the “Volunteer Delight”; Mr. Daniel, the local Geek, the man of a thousand ideas and a million ideals and who likes to argue about everything…; At last, but not the least: Mrs. Elsa, the main reason for me to come on the first place. One day she will win a World Press Photo. Without all these people, nothing would have been the same. More than a pleasure, it was an honor to work with all of them, although with such different backgrounds, it was easy to work with them for common objectives. Here I learned to work with many difficulties, things that were unthinkable in Portugal. But once you have the right spirit, the hard things become easy! I will carry a lot back home. I will miss the fact that people were extremely polite, always smiling and (strangely) conservative. I’m not saying goodbye to Cameroon because I’m sure I’ll be back. And I will take the whole country in my heart and mind.
Elsa Romão, Portugal (May – July 2015)
I spend three months with UAC Cameroon working on the IT department. My first impression of the organization was that it stands for providing a different and challenging environment for the Children, with a wide diversity of fields of interest (sports, interactive activities, livelihood projects, etc). The way I see it, Cameroon is only now wakening for IT and it’s common usage on every day’s life. Basic stuff like the infrastructure for connecting to the internet or the use of the computer is not yet on everybody’s mind or priority. But this will change very rapidly, the Cyber Cafes are blooming and there is a fast growing interest in computer classes and possible use of computer by almost any person. Buea is a student’s town, with two universities and dozens of elementary and secondary schools, the population is very young and very eager to use technology. I believe that UAC has a major advantage when compared to other schools: UAC’s vision has long been using computer skills in the office, in classes and to implement computer classes programs to help students learn how to work with the computer. My work within UAC had 4 major goals: build a new website, training teachers and staff on using computer, co-develop of the new UAC Schools Management Application and also to photograph as much as possible the work done by UAC (for future use on the UAC web-site and on UAC social media accounts). I feel that my objectives were fully met and I am very pleased with the volunteer experience that I have had. The UAC staff was generally friendly and very willingly to help and to learn as much as possible from us. Thomas (our mentor) was awesome and always went beyond his way for us to feel at home. Mr. Orock, Madam Orock and all the family, were a real difference in our adaptation and it really made the difference to be part of the family, even if it was for a few months! And I was really honored to be part of it and hope to return again.
I am a passionate traveler, and I have to say that I really loved Cameroon! The people, the food, the natural beauty of its landscape (mount Cameroon is just a few steps from our doorstep and Limbe and its beaches are only 30 minutes away), the simple way of life and most of all, I loved the children. I can only hope to have the possibility to do more experiences like this in the future. Either way, Cameroon will stay close to my heart and hope to get back soon!
Annika H., Deutschland – Juni 2015
Hi, mein Name ist Annika. Ich bin eine 26-jährige Gymnasiallehrerin für Latein und Geschichte aus Köln, Deutschland. Im April 2015 bin ich in Buea angekommen. Das ist das erste Mal, dass ich in Afrika bin. Bis jetzt habe ich in der Jamadianle-Grundschule Förderunterricht im Lesen und Schreiben für die Klassen 1-3 erteilt. Manchmal konnte ich auch Deutsch-Unterricht geben oder den Lehrerinnen und Lehrern beim Korrigieren helfen, besonders am Ende des Schuljahres, nachdem die Schüler/innen ihr Examen geschrieben hatten, gab es viel zu tun und die Lehrer waren im Stress. Um 8 Uhr morgens nehme ich den Schulbus. Die Schule endet um 13.30 Uhr. Die Art des Unterrichtens in Kamerun ist vollkommen anders als in Deutschland. Den Lehrern geht es nur um Einprägen und Wiederholen. Es gibt stets nur EINE richtige Antwort: keine offenen Fragen, Diskussionen oder ein Meinungsaustausch. Die Lehrer schreiben an die Tafel, was das Schulbuch vorgibt. Die Schüler versuchen das dann abzuschreiben, ohne zu wissen, was sie da schreiben, weil so gut wie keiner der Schüler aus den Klassen 1-3 lesen kann. Nur ganz wenige können einzelne Wörter erkennen. Genau deshalb war mein Förderunterricht in Kleingruppen (4-5 Schüler) meiner Meinung nach so wichtig. Die Kinder kennen keine individuelle Aufmerksamkeit und können eine Menge lernen. Zweimal in der Woche gehe ich nachmittags mit zu School-on-Wheels. Insgesamt habe ich viel mehr Freizeit als in Deutschland, weshalb ich mich mit Freunden treffen kann (Kameruner und andere Freiwillige aus aller Welt), Spaß haben und dieses wunderschöne Land bereisen. Mehrere Wochenenden habe ich in Limbe verbracht, bin im Atlantik geschwommen und habe den besten gerösteten Fisch gegessen. Wir waren auch in Mamfe mit den anderen Freiwilligen und ich habe den Mount Cameroon bestiegen, ein großartiges und schweißtreibendes Erlebnis! Den Muskelkater in den Beinen habe ich noch Tage später gespürt, aber das war es wert! Mein Aufenthalt in Kamerun ist eine anstrengende und tolle Erfahrung. Unser Freiwilligenmentor Thomas passt immer auf uns auf und die Familie Orock begrüßt Freiwillige freundlich. Das kamerunische Essen ist wirklich lecker (manchmal zu scharf, aber ansonsten großartig) und die Leute sind offen und herzlich. Ich bin sicher, dass ich diese Erfahrung niemals vergessen werde!
Sarah (USA) February-April 2015
During my time at UAC I have learned so much. It was a great opportunity to work within an NGO and to experience life in Cameroon. 3 months is too short! My main roles within the organisation included teaching sports lessons, marking papers, running educational programmes in the library, and updating the online volunteer materials and social media pages. I had the most success when I was proactive with my projects. I learned quickly that just because I did not face a language barrier didn’t mean there were no communication barriers to overcome. I could not always rely on my co-workers to respond with timely enthusiasm and support but by being persistent with questions and honest with goals and expectations we made fruitful progress. There are many helpful people around who are eager to problem-solve with you if you seek them out. We were also hampered by the realities of living in a country with sporadic internet and phone networks, as well as temperamental vehicles. These challenges, however, are all just part of getting to know the Cameroonian way of life!Buea is a safe and friendly place to get to know and we quickly felt at home here. It was also an ideal location to base other travels around Cameroon from. The beach at nearby Limbe is easily accessible, Douala is only an hour away with links everywhere else in the country, and of course Mount Cameroon is on your doorstep (and well-worth the climb!). The volunteer house was comfortable and the Orock family took very good care of us providing us with meals and always being flexible and catering to our needs. For me, working with the children was the best part, but no matter what, when you work at UAC you are immediately connected to a network of friendly, informative people who will ensure that you get the most out of your stay in Cameroon.