Testimonial: Joanna Animashaun

After travelling around South America for 7 months I decided to do some volunteering and by searching the internet I found Sustainable Bolivia, and it was great for me as it was easy to organise and being at the end of my budget it was still affordable. It was also good as there were various projects which could meet my interests. I volunteered for Colonia Ecologica, which was an orphanage and also somewhere local children could go for support with their homework.

It was great volunteering in such a positive environment especially after traveling around and seeing a lot of children working on the streets. The kids were all really happy and enjoyed seeing new volunteers. The children went to school in the morning and then Colonia had a general structure set up for the week, so I got there during lunchtime to help the kids with some of their chores in the kitchen or in the garden. Then it was homework time! The age of the children ranged so sometimes this involved helping them read, practice handwriting or maths, so I had to brush up on my long multiplication skills! I had basic Spanish and this was a good time for me to practise and learn more, it was sometimes difficult as I couldn’t always explain things but the kids are good at describing things and are generally interested in talking or playing! There was time at the end of the day for some play time or just for chatting and this was fun!

During my month there, it was really great to get to know some of the kids better and see their positive energy. There was also football on Saturdays which was really good fun, the kids really loved it! Sustainable Bolivia also set up my Spanish lessons which were really good, and my teacher really catered to my needs. She was very friendly and went that extra mile to help me. I also learnt a lot more about Bolivian culture, such as the afro-bolivian population which was great. I lived in the volunteer house which was really nice and so good to have some home comforts after spending a lot of time in hostals! Cochabamba was a cool city to live in and experience a little bit more of Bolivia, so I settled into a good routine and activities with other volunteers were always fun. It was a great experience and I could have definitely stayed longer!

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