Humanitary Mission: Raleigh International - Future Leaders Programme
In 2019, we’ve sent 8 of our employees on life-changing Raleigh International Expeditions – providing them with an amazing opportunity to make a difference and aid their personal development. The floor is given to Kévin Steinlechner, Process Improvement Coordinator at Gripple Europe
Kevin Steinlechner - My incredible volunteer experience
Last September I was about to travel to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania for my volunteering experience. I was ready to meet new people, discover a new culture and manage a team of fifteen volunteers. These three months have been an incredible experience!
I learned to relativize things and feel fortunate to live in a developing country.
I only have one dream, go back to Tanzania, discovering the many facets of the country and its inhabitants. Going on a safari, climbing the Kilimandjaro or cycling across the country, only time will tell!
Let me now present to you the three phases of my experience.
Phase 1: Natural Resource Management
First, stop in Iringa for my first Natural Resource Management mission.
What was a typical day like?
Generally, we woke up at 6.30 am to take advantage of the early morning hours. Half an hour later it was breakfast time composed of porridge, chapati (African pancake) or fruits (watermelon, pineapple, mango...)
During 15 days we had one main goal: planting trees. The Team of 15 volunteers was split into several workshops: cutting plastic tubs, filling pipes and planting trees.
At noon we met the villagers to eat a typical African meal: ugali (cooked flour), spinach and red beans.
In the afternoon we continued our planting workshops and in addition, we built concrete stoves. At the end of the day, we made a Feedback session to provide an update on the activities performed during the day as well as the lessons learned.
My best memory?
The village festival on the last day of my first phase. In 15 days of immersion in a local village, you get closer to the villagers and it's hard to say goodbye. The party was incredible: traditional music, dances, customs, and rituals.
Phase 2: Trek
Iringa is one of the most impressive regions of Tanzania for its breathtaking landscapes. The scenery is mind-blowing.
Three managers: a Tanzanian, a Swiss-English, myself and two local guides were supervising a group of 15 volunteers. Each day, a volunteer was chosen to lead the group and guide us from point A to point B during 5-6 hours of walking.
Phase 3: Water, sanitation, and hygiene
Having access to the bathroom and knowing how to wash their hands: was the main objective of my 3rd and last phase. To ensure hygiene and provide more privacy to the villagers, we built dry toilets in the local school. Meanwhile, we organized the washing hands sessions.
Our aim was to raise awareness of the children and make them able to pass on knowledge to their parents.
The trip of a lifetime
I always wanted to participate in a humanitarian mission and this has been made possible. A big thank you to Gripple and GLIDE for this exceptional opportunity which offered me some precious moments. It was a great experience of sharing and solidarity.
Even if words are not strong enough to describe and express all that I have experienced and felt, it is by far the best experience of my life.
Surpass yourself, discover, learn, acclimatize, listen, exchange, communicate, intercultural understanding... So many skills applied throughout this humanitarian mission.