As our Project Coordinator in Zanzibar, Sheriece Kamp is a wealth of knowledge! Her story was recently published in Australia, and we wanted to share it with you. In this first part, Sherice shares some advice on how to become affiliated with African Impact, how she manages her role with us and discusses what it takes to be a volunteer!
How did you become affiliated with African Impact?
I heard some really good reviews from people traveling to Africa on volunteer projects in 2013 and 2014, so it slowly planted the thought and desire to do the same. I did some research and found quite a few on offer, but African Impact seemed to have really good reviews and a program that matched my interests; being located by the seaside, working with people, offering diversity within the project and also being a very hands-on experience, rather than just acting as assistants.
So, it wasn't long before I began volunteering with African Impact in September 2015 for 6 weeks, with the intention of continuing my travels with 1 month in Egypt, 1 week in London, then meeting up with a friend in Europe and travelling for a month over Christmas to then settle down in London on a 2 year working visa. However, after 3 weeks being on project with African Impact I was offered my current position as the previous coordinator was finishing up her contract in December. So, I did all my travelling as intended however instead of settling down in London I returned to Africa on the 3rd Jan 2016 to begin my new life here, on Zanzibar Island.
How do I manage it all?
You must possess the qualities of being resilient, flexible, whilst being a multitasker, quick thinker, and outgoing. I take each day and each week as it becomes. I have my daily and weekly tasks that need to be completed for all programs but I try to focus my ideas on one program per week.
For instance, last week I revolved my duties around adult classes, in preparation for the English grammar mid-term exams. So Monday and Tuesday I wrote the exams, Thursday and Friday I edited them and got volunteers to undertake them, whilst writing up the registration lists for them.
This week, I have been focusing my thoughts on producing new products with the Kanga Ladies, as we have made more than enough bunting to sell for the entire year. So Monday and Tuesday, I researched and brainstormed ideas. I settled on the idea of a tote bag I have been travelling around with which I bought from the Tree of Life. I thought it would be easy and quick to make whilst being travel friendly and aesthetically pleasing for increased sales. So on Wednesday I showed the ladies and we all got to work on the design, by cutting fabric, and agreeing on sizing. The ladies were so excited they took parts of the bag home to sew overnight and by Thursday, one bag was completed, selling our first Kanga Ladies Tote Bag to one of our volunteers on Project, Billie Parkinson from Brisbane.
What does it take to be a volunteer?
All we ask is for people to be easily adaptable, have a thirst for learning, be high on energy and pack their can do attitude. Everyone comes from all different backgrounds, and from all over the world, so there is not a stock standard skill set we require, it’s about that quirky personality the locals, students and the team here at African Impact are eagerly awaiting. To make the most impact, this is all on you! Obviously you will have a huge impact on the students and community through the programs we offer but there is so much more to experience and it’s up to you to get involved. Play soccer on the beach each afternoon with the locals, go to the local food markets and see what food is on offer, ride on a dhow and see what it takes to be a fisherman here, talk to different people by learning the local dialect, Kiswahili.
Be sure to tune in next week for some more tips on what to expect when joining our volunteer programs in Zanzibar!