VOLUNTEER IN THE SPOTLIGHT 2: Lisa Walter, Germany
At the blog we love sharing about our fantastic volunteers and hopefully inspiring some of you, the readers to consider your own trip to Bulembu or to recommend a friend to volunteer with us! This months volunteer in the spotlight is the wonderful Lisa Walter, who was with us from 2018-19 and blessed our whole community with her service and joyful presence. We caught up with Lisa after she left to ask her all about her brilliant Bulembu experience and hear about her highlights.
RS Lisa, we are already missing you here at Bulembu and hope everything going well at home. For our readers, would you mind sharing where you’re from when you came to Bulembu please?
LW I’m from the southern part of Germany (pretty close to the mountains). I came in August 2018 (couple of weeks after I turned 18) and stayed until the end of March 2019.
RS Is it something you had always wanted to do for a long time?
LW Yes, definitely!
RS What would you say were your expectations and goals when you came?
LW My expectations were to meet great people whom I can learn from and this definitely happened!
RS Can you tell us if you were volunteering in a particular area/department and who you worked with?
LW I was working with Nolungelo (an intern), Sakhile (the Ranger Outpost leader) and Allison and Akki (youth coordinators) in the youth department at church. It is responsible for the Royal Ranger work in Bulembu, Holiday programs, youth groups, fun activities during the week like drama, worship, dance and so on.
RS What was a typical week like for you?
LW My week started on Tuesdays with morning devotion. After that we had a meeting to check where everyone’s at and what’s going to happen over the next week. After cleaning the youth centre, everyone started with their tasks. Every week (actually every day) was different. One week we had to prepare a youth or rangers Camp, the next week I was sewing stuffed animals with some girls during holiday programme or baking cookies with the 6 year olds. Preparing Drama, youth group, and Rangers was the only constant thing. The change was the best about my work. It was never boring!
RS What did you find most different in the culture?
LW The friendliness and the relaxed lifestyle of the people there.
RS That’s really lovely. Did you have many surprises about the country and culture?
LW I love the attitude of people, always being open to give and to share what they have. Always!
RS I agree! What were your favourite cultural experiences that you wouldn’t have had at home
LW Maybe not cultural but this would not have happened at home: A monkey bit me because I tried to feed him 🙂
RS: Oh no!! Haha no, I guess it wouldn’t have. So let’s talk about languages, did you enjoy speaking SiSwati?
LW: I tried my best in the beginning but all my people in Bulembu gave up on me after a while because I was so bad..!
RS Ah, what I heard was pretty good! OK, so what are your favourite things about Bulembu, and eSwatini as a whole country?
LW The beautiful mountains in Bulembu, pap and fatcakes, my work at church and the most important thing: the people I met! My workmates, my house mate, some of the young adults, my drama group, the Ranger leaders and so on!
RS Awesome! Tell us more of your highlights and best memories…
LW Okay, 3. We went to a town called Lavumisa which is in south Swaziland to introduce Royal Rangers to a church there. We took some of the Ranger leaders with us and sang songs at the bonfire. That was great!
2. I went to Mbabane in my week off to visit people from Bulembu that moved away during my time there. So much fun!
1. They organized a surprise party for me -two days before I left-. My first and best surprise party at the bonfire with marshmallows and my favourite swazi people … Will never forget that!
RS That’s so great! Right, well, what advice would you give a new visitor to Bulembu and eSwatini?
LW Be flexible, love the people there because they’re amazing and find someone who shows you the beautiful hikes/ places around the mountains!
RS That’s excellent advice. Can you some of your best learning experiences and areas of growth as a person while in eSwatini?
LW The LTS (Life training seminar at Potters Wheel Church The long and deep conversations with friends
The teachings from Alli and Akki in the office (twice a week)
RS That’s brilliant. Would you recommend volunteering at Bulembu and why?
LW Yes. The reason is pretty simple: So far I had the most amazing 8 months of my life there!!
RS Thanks so much Lisa, we hope to see you again soon!
We hope you enjoyed hearing about Lisa’s experience, don’t forget if you’d like to apply to volunteer just visit https://www.bulembu.org/visit-and-serve/ for more information or recommend to a friend. If you are unable to volunteer but would still like to support bulembu then you can explore ways to give here https://www.bulembu.org/donate/ Thank you for reading!
By Rachel Smart