Lattitude Blog

An Introduction To The Cradle Of Life…

In August 2011 I was rejected from enrolling onto an environmental degree based on not having enough “Tropical work experience,” I felt a little annoyed at first but then I realised I would have to find the perfect opportunity to go away to develop my skills and that is where my journey with Lattitude began.

I found Lattitude through Facebook and from already following all manner of volunteering and environmental non-governmental organisations.  I approached Lattitude asking if they could help my somewhat unique case and during my interviews Brazil was suggested to me where I would be cataloguing species as I worked my way through the Amazon, which sounded great, however I was later told the project had been axed.

I left the Lattitude office thinking it was great to have met the friendly bunch but perhaps was not meant to be, but then a week later I was called with a somewhat unique offer in acting as a guinea pig by taking a placement in Costa Rica.

Now Costa Rica was never a place I had planned to go but the more I read into what I would be doing, where I would be based, who I would be working with and the opportunities for me to develop – it sounded like an opportunity that was too good to be true.  I confirmed my interest and returned to Lattitude where the friendly staff took me through the entire process to prepare me for my solo trip to Central America.

Before Christmas I quit my jobs and bought a journal ready to fly out to New York on New Years Day 2012 and began documenting my experiences over the 7 months I was out there.  I wrote in my journal religiously each day for the 7 months I was there (I had never kept a diary or created a blog before) and took over 10,000 photos!

All of which I worked up into a blog which I am very proud of and is publicly available at

http://thecradle0flife.blogspot.co.uk/

It is a long blog crammed full of beautiful pictures and links to videos hosted on Youtube but I am more than happy to share my story and journey with others.

*Update*

Upon returning from Costa Rica I got onto the course I had dreamed about and successfully beat the Masters with a “Pass With Merit” and I am now happily working in the environment sector in London gaining some experience before I relocate to somewhere more… Tropical, and more me.

 

 

 

 

 

Erste Tage in New Zealand

Kia Ora (Hallo),

um all eure Fragen zu beantworten: JAAA! ich bin gut und sicher in Neuseeland angekommen.

Nach einer 1,5 Tage langen Reise, die in München um 22.35 Uhr Ortszeit startete und über Dubai und Brisbane führte bin ich un endlich angekommen. In Auckland. Hier wurden wir nach zahlreichen Sicherheitskontrollen von Sharyn ( der Country-Managerin, meine Ansprechpartnerin in NZ) abgeholt und in ein Hotel gebracht. Hier haben wir nun ein paar Tage um uns zu erholen und die neuseeländische Kultur etwas kennen zu lernen.

Nach einer mehr oder weniger langen Nacht fuhren wir in nach Te Hana Te Ao Marama gefahren. Einem nachgebauten Maori-Dorf. (Maori sind die Ureinwohner Neuseelands). Dort wurden wir mit einer traditionellen Willkommenszeremonie ( Powhiri)  begrüßt und bekamen einen Haka zu sehen. Fotos und Videos von unserem Ausflug könnt ihr hier anschauen. Danach sind wir zurück nach Auckland gefahren. Die Stadt ist auf Vulkanen erbaut, deren Krater man bewandern kann. Wir sind auf den Krater Mount Eden “gewandert”. Von dort hat man einen unglaublichen Ausblick über die Stadt. Fotos folgen.

Ich werde mich in den nächsten Tagen wieder melden Aber nun soll das erstmal reichen.
Liebe Grüße Leonie

Returned Volunteer On A Charitable Mission For Vanuatu

Recently returned volunteer Courtney Cliffe, who volunteered with Lattitude in the remote archipelago nation of Vanuatu has decided to make it her life goal to give back to the community she volunteered in.

Jumping Platform Of The Naghol Ceremony

Jumping Platform Of The Naghol Ceremony

She says that after volunteering for 5 months in a community where poverty is endemic, she felt she had to act. She described a community where children could not afford to go to school and where the schools had little or no resources. She gave the example of one child making the dangerous effort to climb coconut trees everyday to collect and sell, just to make enough to attend school. This situation is even more astonishing when we are reminded that in Vanuatu it only costs £10 to pay the school fees of a child for a year!

Teaching

Upon returning to the UK she was determined to find a charity or mechanism to reliably channel funds back to her host community, but couldn’t find anything, and realised that this was a common frustration for many returned volunteers. Her goal has since been to set up her own charity called Olgeta (Bislama for together), which will provide a channel to initially sponsor the education of children in Vanuatu, but ultimately provide this utility for all returned volunteers looking to give back to their host communities.

With Children

Despite the obvious challenges Courtney will face, she says ‘I have no doubt it will become a reality’ and has already got many fundraising projects on the go. If you’d like to support Courtney in helping her set up her charity or simply want to donate, then you can get in touch at olgeta.charity@gmail.com.

Being A Lattitude Volunteer In Fiji: Laurel’s Story

So my placement in Fiji is a teaching placement, at a primary school called Marist Convent in Ovalau. Myself and another Lattitude volunteer Ashlee are here for 2 school terms and the first school term we were teaching.

Macarena

During our first term, we found the library which had been neglected and needed a lot of organising and tidying so we asked our head teacher if we could change our role to librarians when we began term 2. The first four or five weeks we worked hard to organise, clean and decorate the library and then we had a donation of a few hundred books from an Australian charity called Bula Books, so we added these fantastic aids to the collection of books and organised a timetable for classes to come in and have the opportunity to read and borrow books.

We spoke to teachers about students who need help with their reading and began a 40 minute reading programme twice a day every weekday inviting a few of those students who need extra help from each class for one on one sessions. It’s been fantastic to watch the students grow in confidence when they read and very rewarding.

Library Fun Time

We decided that the children would benefit more if they could come to the library more than once a week and outside of class time too so we began staying in at recess and lunchtimes and made a timetable for different activities, quiet reading, storytelling sessions, colour and crafts and fun and games. The quiet reading sessions have been really popular, we have almost 50 children lined up outside the library, the response has been fantastic. The children come in and pick books to read and sit with their friends or by themselves and it’s wonderful to see them so interested. They eat their lunch and then come straight to the library to spend as much time as possible reading the new books; it’s really wonderful to see.

I really am having such a wonderful time here, I’ll be sad to say goodbye and go home at the end of next month!

Laurel Dunne

Library Time

Lattitude ICS Project Sangilo, Malawi Explained

Interested in volunteering with Lattitude ICS in Malawi, but would like to know a bit more about the project you’d be involved in? Team Leader Becky Bush provides a brilliant summary of the project thus far: 

You will be working within a community that consists mainly of subsistence farmers, most of whom live on less than $1 a day. The village of Sangilo and its surrounding depend on cassava and maize production as well as fishing in the lake, which has consistently yielded decreasing fish harvests.

Despite the poverty, culturally the communities are very committed to education, realising that it is a gateway to development at the family level and have demonstrated this commitment through their allocation of their own small resources in establishing and supporting education facilities in the local area. Such structures tend to be inadequate in size to house their need and are of local materials which provide insufficient durability and shelter for the children.

All projects are supported and encouraged by the traditional structure (chieftancy) and local development groups within the village with educational projects given priority.

Although some children enter primary school after having attended nursery, pass rates of standard 1 are very low, around 50%. The community hopes to increase this with better understanding of the basics.

Our primary aim is to prepare pupils for entry into the national educational system at the primary school levels by improving facilities and programming at the nursery level. This project is primarily education focused and is mainly focused on nursery education but with secondary projects along the way.

Hand Game

Host Writes Poem For Lattitude Volunteers

One of Lattitude’s host schools in Australia, St. Ursula wrote a poem about 2 of our volunteers from the UK (Issy Plastow) and Germany (Britta Marko) and the impact they had made during their placements. Enjoy!:

Well it was just the other day
Not too long ago
Two young backpackers
Came down under, looking for a show

First came Britta,
Who travelled all the way from Germany
To come to Australia, where she fits in perfectly
Upon her arrival, she was not shy nor timid
No, no, our dear Britta had no limits
She jumped right in and got to know us all
Never holding back, not that I can recall
Every day she has graced us all with her cheerful smile
Making our days that bit more versatile
It was not long before our friendships with Britta were bound
As her cheery spark was spread all around

But you see the journey had only just begun
The double shot of fun was yet to come
Issy touched down soon after, in leaps and bounds
Never letting her feet touch the ground
She settled right in, and got straight to work
Setting out on her breast cancer campaign, which involved a bit of typical Issy Quirk
She toured the sights of Toowoomba, never letting anything get in her way

Not even those dreadful rainy days
She was later prescribed magical blue zinc
Which she was told would cure her skin which had turned bright pink
But being gullible is nothing to be ashamed of
Because at the end of the day you have surrounded us with love

Together these two added a few good stories to the books
Anyone would think they were crooks
You see, they didn’t fancy no jackaroo,
These blokes down under didn’t have a shot with either of these two
Any attempts they made were simply supressed
As the two backpackers didn’t like the way these shabby boys dressed

Never the less, being social was part of the test
And failing was not something they did best
So like good little girls, they did as they were told
And tottled along to the Cube to get a cup of that good old gold
It turns out they passed that social test with no trouble at all
They had a bit of fun and didn’t think too much of the brawl
Until someone found their picture on the Cube’s website
Boy did their faces go bright.

Together you became quite the team
And our time with you has been a delightful dream
Over the past year, you have become more that just backpackers
You have become our sisters, our friends and our mentors; despite being such crackers
So it is with great sadness that we must say our goodbyes
Thanks again for choosing down under; and sorry about the flies.

Week 9, Abrobiano, Ghana

To everything that has a beginning has an end. We started as a team and we are gradually concluding as a team. After the exciting weekend in Cape Coast, we started the ninth week on Monday, 23rd June with so much enthusiasm. At 7am we started with infrastructure where we did a bit of roofing of the toilet facility. The team continued with their normal teaching in the schools. At 2pm, we started a sachet net development facilitated by Isaac Aboni and Vincent Osim. At 4pm, we had our ACD on the topic, Globalization and Interdependence facilitated by Kweku, Team Leader. We discussed how two countries rely on each other for mutual assistance. After the ACD, we had a brief meeting on how to write our individual case studies facilitated by Nana Kojo, Team Coordinator. On Tuesday, we went on our normal teaching activities in the schools and at 2pm, we continued with our sachet net. At 3pm, the Peer Educators had a beading session class facilitated by Abigail Obodai.

On Wednesday, we did infrastructure and we completed the roofing portion and plastering of the whole toilet facility. The team after infrastructure went on teaching and at 2pm continued with the sachet net. At about 8pm,the team gathered for the last socials which was entitled the Reconciliation night hosted by the Team Coordinator, Nana Kojo. He asked the whole team to reflect on how we started as a team and how good we need to end it despite our cultural differences that has brought some tension between the team. He emphasized on long lasting friendship and team spirit wherever we find ourselves whether in the UK or Ghana. The Reconciliation Night which ended in a style with the team slogan ”SAWASAWA” which boosts the morale of the team members ended the day.

On Thursday, we went on our normal teaching activities in the schools, at 2pm we continued our sachet net and we had my MCD which was the football match between the Black Stars of Ghana verses the Portuguese National team at the on- going 2014 FIFA world cup where Ghana lost 1 to 2 in favour of the Portuguese. After the MCD, we had a short meeting on counterpart pair voting which is aimed at awarding the best counterpart pair at the end of the ten weeks. On Friday, the team went on their normal teaching duties in the various schools, where Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were held with students which is aimed at knowing the views of the students in primary 4 to JHS 2′s view on Teenage pregnancy issue in the Abrobiano community. At 4pm, team meeting was held and issues and information on infrastructure, updates, and upcoming events were discussed.

On Saturday, a health awareness event which is the inter-religious football gala scheduled for the 28 and 29 June started at 3pm. This was a conceived and accepted event which was facilitated by Isaac Aboni and Vincent Osim the community liaisons of the team. This football gala event was aimed at sensitizing the whole community on the need to practice personal hygiene in the Abrobiano community. Nine churches including the Muslims participated in the event. On Sunday was the semi-finals and finals of the football gala; where the Roman Catholic Church won the first position and the Methodist church won the second place. All teams that participated were awarded a certificate and the first and second teams won a wall clock and a dust bin respectively. What is expected has been achieved in the ninth week. Our heads are still up with hope as a team to make it to the end.

”Whatever appears in the mind must be introduced and when introduced it should be associated with what is already there”- Vincent Osim.DSCF5014 DSCF5090 DSCF5114

Matthew’s Blog Post.

Blog post

Before I came to Ghana a friend of mine gave me a set of medals that were from past football tournaments. I spoke to a few other people and they said that it would be a good idea to is to set up a tournament out there in Ghana as it would be a great reward for the kids and it would give them a sense of achievement. I also bought some football kits from my local team that were donated to me.
On the weekend of the gala one of the team leaders said that it would be a good idea for some of the volunteers to manage the teams and give them names, I named my team Bayern Neverlusin. Also we decided to buy snacks and refreshments for the kids as they would be outside playing football games consistently for a long time.
The tournament consisted of 8 teams of kids who attend one of our programmes. The teams played each other on a knock-out basis all the way until we were left with two teams for the final. The team I was managing went on to win the tournament which was an amazing thing to see.
Especially watching how much it meant to them during the game and in the penalty shoot-out. After the final was played the top three teams got given their medals and my team was given their trophy. Overall I was happy with how the whole day went and I was proud of my team.
P6080071

Robert’s Blog Post

ROBERT : BLOGPOST

R0BERT QUAYE is my name, a Lattitude ICS volunteer from Accra at the Football for Hope centre in Cape Coast. I was paired with a UK counterpart and we have been living with a very wonderful host family; they have been very kind to us and treat us as part of their family. We are now in our 9th week and everything is going on well. In Ghana soccer is considered as a major sporting activity and the others are regarded as lesser sporting activities and that is one of the reasons why we use football to teach at the centre. Here in Cape Coast we work with a partner organization called the Oguaa Football for Hope centre which is part of an NGO called Play Soccer Ghana.
We as volunteers work with the centre staff of the centre with one common aim which is using football as the key to reach out to the children, the youth and also the entire community. Here at the centre we work from Mondays to Saturdays. We have a homework session which runs from Mondays to Thursdays, during which we help the children to solve their homework and also teach them as well. On Fridays we do free play; free play is a reward to the children who have been coming for homework sessions. On Saturdays in the morning we do core programme which has three sections, health, social and soccer. Afterwards we take them through another programme called the enhancement programme s to help them improve upon their reading and also they are taught ICT in the computer room.
Another programme that we run is the Street League, which uses football to engage the youth. Street League has been divided into three different sections namely, Life Skills, ICT, and then soccer skills. We give them ICT lessons to equip them with computer skills. Street league participants are between the ages 16 to 25 and are mostly not in education or unemployed. The programme promotes and supports the role of the youth in community building and also teaches them about living together in dignity and dialogue. Street League participants also learn a lot about conflict resolution and how to promote the values of their community. The centre will also bring in a resource person to have a one-on-one chart with the participants to know those of them who will have to go back to school or those who would like to learn a vocation, trade or pursue soccer as a career.
As a volunteer I have learnt a lot through this programme, from community development to conflict resolution. Talking about the impact that this programme has made into my life is even beyond my imagination. This programme has really changed my life. I have learnt how to compromise, tolerate and also relate to my neighbors in the local community.

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Jeffery Leon Asamoah Blog Post

Jeffery Leon Asamoah is my name and a Latitude Global Volunteer for Football for Hope Centre Cape Coast, and also from Accra. I live with a lovely host family blessed with three children. They are really a family to be with. They are very kind to me and my UK counterpart who am going to spend the 10 weeks with. We are in week 7 and things are going smooth and well for everyone. Well as a volunteer we are here to educate and help or assist children and the youth as well as the communities both literate and illiterate to achieve a common goal and doing this we convince the children the importance of education, life skills and I.C.T since it has now become a must towards a child’s successful carrier whereby easily re defined yourself through it.

Latitude I.C.S in collaboration with Football For Hope Centre has really showed me lots of things. I have learnt how to socialize, opening up to talk to people or talk in the midst of people and also planning ahead of things and even planning on my own.( Solving of Issues). I was a bit shy person unable to get close to people nor even talk in the crowd. I can now proudly say I have upgraded myself through the help of (I.C.S) International citizen Service like speaking in public and also teaching as well. On a more serious note I.C.S programme has really had an impact in my life because it has built-up my confidence, improved on my teaching skills, my boldness when leading a group of people in an open or close place. I can now say am a better person now through the help of Latitude I.C.S. We had our first ever parent and awards day on the 14th of June 2014. We had committees to take responsibilities of the things. We chose Art and choreography and my group mate or colleague was Lauren. We had a long talk on what we wanted to do, because art and choreography talks more about Creativity. I went to town to by some paints, yellow, blue, brown, green and light green. Starch, A4 sheets, balloons and also permanent markers. We made all of the children dip their hands into paint and stick it on the A4 sheet and cutting them, we designed a tree with branches. It was really nice. For the choreography session because of the rains I had one week to teach the children some Azonto dance moves. But God being so good we were able to do it and we did it successfully. We rehearsed for an hour and proved to the parents that their children are not only good academically but also creative in many ways. On the parents and awards day from the looks on their faces and the hands of applause from parents, children, centre staffs, street league participants, ladies and gentle men they did liked it.

For me it’s a huge pleasure and an experience how to move and understand the UKVs especially where they are coming from and now I have the privilege to chat, dine and work with them. I want to use this opportunity to thank all the N.G.O organizations both in Ghana and UK for helping and encouraging children and youth to build a successful, healthy life style and careers to help them since we are the future leaders of our country and also to reduce the rate of unemployment and illiterate. I thank I.C.S for this one in a life time experience. Thank you. I have improved or should I use the word upgraded on my teaching skills and even know how to control and talk to children and even to the crowd and mostly learnt more about learning day. I think am a better man now.
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