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The International Citizen Service & Volunteer West Africa Collaborate!

The International Citizen Service & Volunteer West Africa Collaborate!

Date Posted: 10/08/2015
This weekend 15 volunteers from the International Citizen Service collaborated with Volunteer West Africa on a fun filled day to provide laughter and care to underprivileged children from local West Africa communities. 

Read all about it here.
Followers of VWA's volunteer activities and news will have noted that there has been a bit of a wait since our last volunteer entertainment-related post, and we hope you haven't missed us too much! But we're back with a vengeance this week after several months of serious and full throttle project work.

This Saturday, the 8th August 2015, the Volunteer West Africa (VWA) team had a busy and wonderful day hosting a team of 15 Volunteers from the International Citizen Service (ICS), who spent the weekend collaborating with Volunteer West Africa, receiving an introduction to some of our projects to protect vulnerable children, socialising and sharing perspectives with VWA's own volunteers and full-time team members, and witnessing first hand the valuable development work that Volunteer West Africa undertakes day in day out year round.

This collaboration event between ICS and VWA combines ICS's focus on international citizenship with VWA's mainstay of humanitarian and community based development work. And for those of you unfamiliar with ICS, ICS offers 18 to 25-year-olds the opportunity to experience voluntary placements abroad working as part of a structured, UK government funded programme. ICS offers a chance for young adults with an interest in this globalised and interconnected world to immerse themselves in another culture, to challenge themselves, to build their confidence and to gain valuable life experience. And so for those of you who know even a little bit about VWA's organisational aims and objectives, it will be clear that any international engagement in the lives of others, and the provision of your skills, time and energy on a voluntary basis, is exactly what VWA was founded to encourage. ICS and VWA, then, are clear and obvious bed-fellows!

First up on the day was the traditional local practice of prayers and blessings and some exercises to get the little ones (and big ones!) limbered up and ready for action. Warm up, welcomes and introductions completed,  a series of poem recitals and dancing by the children ensued. A quick photo-op followed - expertly coordinated by VWA's Bintu Jawara-Media Officer (try organising 80+ people, including 50 very excited pre-schoolers, to pose for a semi-respectable photo!) - before informal games and activities aplenty began. A scrumptious lunch was provided by VWA's cook, Regina, which boasted an a la carte menu consisting of local favourite 'spicy Jollof rice & salad'! 

Following lunch, and a little rest to let food settle in excited tiny tummies, the team escorted the 50 or so little people down to the beautiful Kokrobite beach where children and volunteers alike thoroughly enjoyed sack racing, football, pimpina (a local Ghanaian game), throwball, frisby, the obligatory building of sand castles, and of course the refreshing cool sea breeze! VWA teaching and care staff took the lead to help all VWA and ICS volunteers engage and entertain the children and VWA's big man security guard 'Big Chris' was on-site to ensure no one went astray.

A range of activities were carried out simultaneously at the beach so as the children and volunteers could pick and choose according to their interests, ages and abilities: there was something for everyone! A couple of hours flew by at the beach and by late afternoon both children and volunteers were ready to amble back to the VWA compound so as the children could be changed, cleaned and then escorted on the walk home by parents and the VWA staff after a sad goodbye and a few tears that the day was nearly done (and that was just Big Chris!). By this time the ICS and VWA volunteers were well and truly ready to take a break and rest their feet.

By way of reward for all their hard work, and following a refreshing shower and change of clothes, our collaborative team of 25 were then treated to a relaxing and delicious VWA candle-lit dinner in our beautiful tropical gardens before being whisked off - revived and ready to party - in our lovely Land Rover - 'Lilly' - to enjoy a night of reggae and West African culture at the world famous - and conveniently located just minutes from the VWA guesthouse - 'Big Milly's backyard'. Music, laughter and relaxation followed by the bucket loads until the early hours of Sunday morning. Its safe to say a fantastic time was had by all!

VWA as a family always work together to make everyday and every event special for our children, staff and volunteers and the ICS collaboration day was no different. By Sunday lunchtime a delighted and thoroughly impressed group of international volunteers begrudgingly said goodbye to the comfort and great ambience of the VWA guesthouse with new friendships and precious memories to savour a plenty. Another typical day in the office for the team at Volunteer West Africa but some truly life affirming memories and moments for a group of fantastic and ethical young volunteers.

It goes without saying, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all who attended and supported this event: the children and parents of the Oshieye community, the wonderful ICS team, the Engineers Without Borders team, the VWA staff, and our sister organisation Partner West Africa: without whom the event could not have taken place!

Thank you all.

If you would like to collaborate with VWA on a similar event please contact Matt Craig, VWA Director at:

 info@volunteerwestafrica.org
Author: Volunteer West Africa

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