Week 1 reflections from a first time volunteer

My first week with CWB in Rwanda

The first moment I realised exactly what I had got myself into was at the training weekend in Coventry. It wasn’t so much the training session but the emotional effect that the videos and graphics had on me. How was i going to react when I was actually out there. I was concerned that I might just fall apart! However I drew strength from the fact that Team Rwanda had bonded almost immediately and all the CWB coaches were genuinely gutted they weren’t coming.

So we set off with our friends from Air Ethiopia, a fantastic flight and landed in Ethiopia, a 348 hour stop off an then we were off to Rwanda or was it Burundi no definitely Rwanda, no Burundi. Right does anyone know where we are?

Definitely Rwanda.

Turned out it was in fact Burundi!?

Another quick flight and we arrived in Rwanda and met Eddie our driver. Mans a legend and has been ferrying us about to our various schools as well as other activities such as guarding our bus ? (picture is actual size) and saying In Yuma a lot to the locals. I must say he is now also incredibly well dressed and won’t be as cold as I will be when I get home.

After the first day of working at 3 schools I did wonder how I was actually going to be able to do this physically and I had a fear that the days would be the same and I would get very bored of doing the same thing every day. How wrong I was, every day has provided us with a different challenge both physically and emotionally. You learn to think on your feet and have to adapt very very quickly. We have now coached and given the ABC T message to over 4000 kids and 50 teachers.

The kids and teachers are beautiful and inspiring. On Wednesday we received our first rock start welcome, literally mobbed by hundreds of kids as we got out off our bus ? (again, picture is actual size)

Eric the CWB Rwandan ambassador works tirelessly and pushes us beyond what we think our limits are and the ABC T message is being coached into the kids and teachers and they are taking it on. I truly believe that CWB and the team are making a huge difference and ultimately saving lives in Rwanda.

One of the many examples of how CWB and the ABC T message works was when a guy came up and was very interested in talking to me. We chatted for a while and it turned out he was homosexual so didn’t think he needed to be tested and in any case the drugs were expensive. Smashed both those myths and he promised he would get tested first thing in the morning. Quite an emotional moment and showed me exactly how the CWB T message actually works.

All of our school visits culminated in a festival which went brilliantly they all loved their cricket and importantly the teachers were putting into practice what we had taught them independently. Chants of ABC T could be heard throughout the day. A great success on all counts!

The organisation has been seamless and I would like to thank our team leaders Clive and Dan who have worked tirelessly. Also the guys behind the scenes at CWB for their inspiring training weekend.

Make no bones about it this is tough, really tough both physically and mentally but the rewards are enormous. I will never forget this experience and the people I have met.

Week 2, BRING IT ON!!

Jonathan Vocking

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One Comment

  1. Sarajane
    March 5, 2018

    Great blog ?

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