After an amazing 3.5 years I find myself working my last few days for All Out Africa. It is a mixture of sadness and excitement for the future I’m feeling as I embark on yet another relocation to a new country! My third in five years!
I find myself wondering what I achieved whilst I was here and what I loved the most. Love the most is easy, All Out Africa is a family of people who are passionate about what they do and care for one another. I feel like I’m leaving my brothers and sisters behind, but I know that we’ve all grown, shared and learnt so much together that I’m leaving behind very confident, happy and inspiring people who will continue ensuring the passion and vibe of All Out Africa remain.
And the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last few years have given me some of the answers about what I’m most proud of! People have commented about how professional All Out is and how they trust us with their clients, and how genuine our projects are and that their clients (our volunteers) are really making a difference as well as learning a lot about themselves and the world. Everyone has something to contribute and to learn – All Out Africa facilitates this exchange and growth and I personally hope creates a greater understanding and empathy for each other as humans.
This year All Out Africa also won an award at the WTM Responsible Travel Awards and came second at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference – demonstrating the value of our conservation projects. It was a proud moment for me to stand on stage and collect the award on behalf of the team! We know how good our work is and it was great to finally start to get recognition from external bodies.
One of my last duties before my departure was to chair a meeting regarding strategy for our Neighbourhood Care Points in Swaziland, and at this meeting I realized how much in the last two years we’d achieved. We now have a NCP Coordinator who is supporting and providing much needed training to the teachers as well as having a curriculum type document which outlines schemes of work for the teachers. The impact has been that vulnerable children in our local communities are receiving pre-school education which is enabling them to get into Primary School, the teachers are confident and motivated in their teaching role, and our unskilled volunteers are able to contribute given there is a structure in place that they can follow.
Tomorrow is my leaving party and I’m amazed at how many people are invited – obviously all the amazing All Out Africa team, but also the other people that I’ve worked with such as the Skyworld drivers who carry our volunteers and staff safely to/from OR Tambo, Dr Frew from the nearby Medical Centre who keeps our volunteers healthy, the amazing women who teach our children, and the team at Lidwala Lodge who feed and accommodate our volunteers. Saying goodbye will be hard but I know these people will have a place in my heart forever.
Here are some pics of the farewell party!