Lesotho Blues

Sharing thoughts and feedback following our project at God’s Love Centre
All seven of us had a uniquely different experience of the two weeks we spent in Maseru, Lesotho, but one thing we can all agree upon is that the time we spent there was fruitful not only for the trainees, but also for us. One month after our project, we would like to share a few thoughts about the impact that these weeks had on us, and to share some of the feedback we received from people we met and worked with during the project. For more detailed information on our project, click
here.
Following the project, did you receive any feedback from the trainees?
Bernard: Feedback is important in every project we take on. It ensures the success of any project and provides a platform for improving future projects. With this in mind, we sought to build a very good relationship with trainees from the beginning. Throughout our stay, we observed the trainees to better understand their expectations, and would then amend or update our plans to make sure we fulfill the trainees’ needs. On our last day we asked the participants to fill out a questionnaire. It presented questions covering various aspect of the experience such as the setup, delivery and content of the course. The trainees were also given the opportunity to write freely any comments,  suggestionsand feedback. A lot of the comments were very positive. One of the trainees, for example, stated that “It [the experience] was so fun and learning [sic] at the same time. I just wish we can start again. Thank you guys”; while another noted that, even though the overall experience was very positive, there is space for improvement as well. Such comments fill us with joy and encouragement to keep on improving and delivering our sessions to those who are open to learn and willing to share it with their communities. It was also very encouraging to watch the trainees being inspired through the sharing of knowledge and the various topic discussions we had.
What did the trainees find most helpful in your work, and how can this help them?
Adrian: The trainees have shared with us some really positive feedback on their experience. One word, however, that can describe the response and feeling we got from everyone is – motivation. We noticed that the trainees, aside from the training material we prepared or even the delivery of laptops, greatly appreciated the fact that the seven of us flew all the way to Lesotho to meet them. In this way, I believe they were inspired by our visit and became even more motivated to work. We could all see how excited they were to be part of this initiative, and to be able to share in this amazing opportunity for God’s Love Centre.
What do you think will be the lasting effects of your work?
Lorna: Leaving an impact on others when volunteering is always a touchy topic for me, as often I feel that I have been impacted! However, having been given the opportunity to identify areas of need in the GLC orphanage, we have together worked to find ways that could improve the environment holistically. We started from basic privacy, and moved on to hygiene and nutrition, general well-being as well as sustainable fundraising suggestions. I am still in touch with residents and helpers at GLC, and will remain open to them for anything they may need.
What updates did you get from the trainees following the project?
Clara: On returning home, I loved hearing back from some of the trainees who wanted to share with us not only that they had a really good two weeks with the agara team, but also that our work inspired them to try new things and develop ideas for their own businesses. We might take it for granted, however not everyone with access to a computer and the Internet is aware of how social media and other tools can help their business grow. For many of our trainees, the sessions we had on the internet and social media marketing were an eye opener. It was also rewarding to hear that some of the trainees have already had positive results, where for example they gained new
customers for their business through social media marketing on Facebook.
Was the experience different from what you expected?
James: I believe that when you travel to do voluntary work in a place you’ve never been before, it is virtually impossible to anticipate what you will find. For this reason, I went to Lesotho with an open mind. The experience turned out to be a really positive one, not only for the trainees and those with minimal experience of the computer and the internet, but also for us, who learnt a lot about the
people of Lesotho, their ideas and their way of life.
What do you treasure the most from your experience in Lesotho?
Dean: Many thoughts crossed my mind during our stay in Lesotho, especially once we started to get to know the people we were working with. Some of the experiences we had, however, left a mark that will stay with me forever. The first thing that struck me was the sheer vastness of the country. Being there, in the middle of an unending road with untouched stretches of land on either side, you realise how beautiful Africa, and particularly Lesotho, really is. Then, seeing the smile on the faces of people we worked with, knowing their background and what some of them have gone through, I  was touched, and realised that material things do not bring happiness, but can sometimes blind us
from that which most is important in life. The way the Basotho welcomed us, for example, in their warm and friendly ways – I felt at home.
Would you like to keep in contact with God’s Love Centre?Do you have any ideas for how you might follow up on your work?
Janice: When we first set foot in the GLC orphanage, I was particularly overwhelmed with pure happiness. I can still recall the kids’ innocence and their loving attitude even if they had just got to know us – they would grab us by the finger to lift them up or play with them. I believe that keeping in contact after taking part in such projects is indispensable for our work to bear fruit. Although our project was not directly dealing with the kids, it is them who will be the ultimate beneficiaries, as the new orphanage being built from the income generated by the new internet café will ultimately provide more space and comfort for all children. Maintaining communication with the orphanage can be done in several ways. We can stay in contact with the trainees and volunteers that attended
our computer training program, and whose contact details we have; we can ask for updates from Daniela, founder of RISE International, who will still be monitoring the project from Lesotho; or – why not? – revisit Lesotho in person to record the progress on site, check whether the conditions have improved and continue where we left off.

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