In our last newsletter, we already reported on our new project in Botswana. For this issue, we asked our volunteers Vincent and Yamina on site how they experienced their first months.
PLAY HANDBALL: Why is handball important for you and what did it gave/ gives you?
Vincent: Sport was always a great way to get my mind free. And with handball I found a sport that I could also enjoy with friends. Not only once did handball help me to get out of difficult times.
Yamina: Handball is important for me because it gives me a balance in my everyday life. It’s fun, you meet new people and at the same time you keep fit.
PLAY HANDBALL: How did you hear about PLAY HANDBALL?
Vincent: I was looking for a voluntary service abroad and found PlayHandball with the German organization weltwärts.
PLAY HANDBALL: Why did you decide to become a Handball Volunteer in Botswana?
Vincent: I wanted to do a volunteer service outside of Germany in the field of sport for development and luckily found PlayHandball.
Yamina: I always wanted to do a year abroad in Africa after graduation. Since I have been playing handball myself for several years, there was no better project for me.
PLAY HANDBALL: How long have you been now a handball volunteers in Botswana?
Yamina: We have been in Botswana for almost 3 months now.
PLAY HANDBALL: Can you tell us something about your volunteer experience so far?
Yamina: I’ve had an incredible time so far. I am gaining new experiences every day, whether in training or outside of school: I get to know another culture, pedagogical methods, dealing with children and working in a team with colleagues. I could never have had these experiences at home in Germany or even in Europe.
Vincent: It has been a very nice and also a quiet and exhausting time so far. Training the children is a very rewarding experience because they give direct feedback and are grateful that I show them a sport they do not know yet. But since I am not used to working with so many people, it takes time to get used to that.
PLAY HANDBALL: What has been the most memorable experience?
Vincent: After an afternoon handball training a student came to us and thanked us. She told us that we just made her day.
Yamina: Seeing the children happy and sharing their joy. Even after a long day at work, I go home in a good mood and balanced.
PLAY HANDBALL: What was the biggest challenge until now?
Yamina: Sometimes, it is difficult for me to make the small children (under 6) understand certain games. But even these young children inspire me with their joy!
Vincent: Since I have only been teaching handball here for a month, I did not have very big challenges with the children. But arriving somewhere and not having anything to do (as there were holidays) and not knowing people from the area too, was a big challenge to me. It is not the easiest thing for me to get to know new people. I think it is never easy to get out of the comfort zone, but it is very important to grow as a person.
PLAY HANDBALL: How do you experience the handball coaching at school/community?
Vincent: I like it very much, because not only the children but also the parents and the people attached to the school are very grateful for what we are doing here. Also because of the good facilities, I have the feeling that I really can reach something with the kids.
Yamina: The Handball training is going great here. Everyone is motivated to learn something new.
PLAY HANDBALL: How has your work had an impact on you and in the community?
Vincent: First of all, a lot more people know what handball is. For myself, especially building the handball goals showed me, even with limited resources and equipment, I can achieve a lot if I set my mind to it.
PLAY HANDBALL: Any additional stories you’d like to share or note about your volunteer experience?
Vincent: The school I work at has two campuses. Since one of them did not have any appropriate handball goals, I am building handball goals out of old wood. One goal (see pictures) is already finished, and the children are very happy to be able to train with it.
PLAY HANDBALL: Any other comments or sentiments you’d like to share?
Vincent: In Germany I thought that exercising in the summer heat is very uncomfortable. After this year in Botswana, I think I will never have this feeling again.