Mikidadi Olela from Kisumu reflects on his time at our Footstep 12 conference in Slovakia:
‘My trip to Slovakia was a learning experience and adventure. My first time to be in Europe and outside Africa. I enjoyed every single bit of it, my journey though long and exhausting, it was exciting all the way.
The programme and the way it was ran was superb, hosting, the conference, the excursions were all marvelous. The Slovaks were very friendly and nice people; I love them all and the volunteers too. I would like to express our (Kenyans) gratitude to all the “KERIC”members, the entire Global Footsteps family and all those who were involved…KUDOS….!!’
Alice Matthews from Cheltenham visited the HRA Foundation in 2010:
‘The one think that hits you as soon as you get off the plane in Bangladesh is the heat. I don’t think that I have ever been anywhere as hot. It is hard to understand how people are able to work, even think, properly with the heat and humidity.
The first few days that we spend in Dhaka were amazing. Every corner you turn there are new things to look at and crowds and crowds of people staring back. However, when we moved on to Nowder, Sylhet, and were more accustomed to being the ‘white people’, I felt more at home and relaxed. The room I was staying in opened onto a small deck over a pond and seemed to be full of children who were eager to play and be ‘piggy-backed’ around all day. The food was always an array of different dishes made from fresh ingredients, sometimes including small fish from the surrounding lakes, finished with a small cup of tea. A few times, as the end of our meal, I was beckoned back into the kitchen to see the women – you rarely see women on the street. The first time I went to see them they showed me the kitchen and then took me to a bedroom to watch Michael Jackson videos!
During the visit Arosh arranged several school visits for me, which was great as I am training to be a teacher. It was lovely to see, and get followed around by, the children in the schools. Despite being in very poor areas the children were all very happy and appeared to be keen to learn, although their excitement could have been caused by me. Unfortunately, although many school and pre-school seemed to be in practice in the local areas, the actual teaching that was happening did not seem to be to a great standard. In one class every child had a small blackboard in front of them, but no chalk was to be seen. In another class the children had all been given some small scraps from an old text book, even though these were all different and none of the children seemed to be aware that they were even there, never mind actually being able to use them to learn from. In the same pre-school the children had to constantly refer to the letters’ names in the alphabet for their reading instead of the sounds, a completely irrelevant task. The lack of teacher training centres means that the teachers do not understand what is important, I believe that introducing formal standards of training for all teachers would hugely improve the future of Bangladesh. There are teachers that are willing to teacher and children that willing to learn, unfortunately there are no fund to make this happen immediately.’
Here is how Nuran Ozturk reflected on Footstep 12 in Slovakia:
‘I would like to talk about an activity called The Ecological Walk which we did while in Cadca. There were three ways to go to meeting point: Easy, which I participated in; Medium and Difficult! While walking we had to talk about some items about our countries situation (transport, accomodation, rubbish and litter, food, energy sources, natural resources, environmental projection. We talked, talked and talked with Margaret and I learned a lots of things about Kenya. I knew before that Kenya is poor country but I cant imagine so much like that.
I would like to say that it was so great meeting for me. As Arosh (from Bangladesh) said, I didn’t meet that kind of lovely people in Europe before. I should change my idea about european people! All of them are not selfish and cold!’