When I first applied with Manager für Menschen in September 2015 for placing me in a project aboard, I was sure, that I wanted to do my social sabbatical in South America. I had even seen an interesting offer of a project in Peru on their homepage, which in my opinion would have been perfect for me. So I was a little disappointed when Elke, who is the president and founder of MfM, told me, that the project organization had refused my application.
Elke told me that she would continue looking for projects in South America that would fit my skills and interests. While vacationing in East Africa I got an email from Elke, in which she stated that it was pretty hard to find something in South America and asked if I was interested in volunteering in Africa as well. Since I was just having such a good time during that vacation and for some reason this continent just gets to me and touches me in a way that I can’t grasp, I immediately replied “YES”. And to be honest, I felt kind of bad, that I hadn’t decided to spend my social sabbatical in Africa in the first place.
So while relaxing on a beach chair on Sansibar, Tanzania, I got another email from Elke with 4 different offers. I checked them all out and discussed them with my friends, who I was on vacation with, and we all agreed “the one with the community center” sounded the most interesting and suitable for me. So I quickly got back to Elke and told her that I would be interested in talking to the MCP-people.
On January 14th Elke had set up a skype call with the two of us and Monika from MCP. After chatting a little and getting to know each other, Monika got straight to the point and explained very passionately about MCP, the project in Mayana and the people involved. After she finished I tried to sum up “So the standard is very basic you say.” and she replied “Basic is exaggerating it.” Well that left me speechless for a brief moment, but on the other hand raised some more questions. And Monika’s answers shocked me a little more. She outlined the instructions for building a refrigerator with a wire, coal and water and told me that the local women would enjoy watching me doing my laundry in the river very much. I was very doubtful that this was the right project for me and sure that I couldn’t handle 2.5 months living in the middle of nowhere with no wifi, electricity, a refrigerator or a washing machine. But what kept me curious and keen on the project was how passionate Monika was about everything and what she told me about the local family who lives right next to the guesthouse I would be staying in and who is also highly involved in the project. So after 2.5 hrs of skyping we agreed on Monika sending me some more information and – most importantly – pictures of Mayana, the guesthouse and the local team. Also I wanted to sleep on it and let everything sink in.
The following weekend I had a preparation seminar for the social sabbatical and my time aboard held by Elke, so I wanted to talk to Elke during the seminar to reflect the skype conversation with Monika. Also I wanted to ask Elke to arrange a skype call with another project just to compare. But after two days with Elke and learning about other consultants, their projects and experiences, I was sure, that Mayana was just what I was looking for. So at the end of the seminar I told Elke “Mayana it is!”.
It became very clear to me that I am longing for stepping out of my comfort zone and grounding myself again in order to learn to appreciate the little things in life and all the amenities I get to enjoy every day. Also the possibility of living in a local community and having the opportunity of getting to know the culture and people this way sounded very appealing to me.
On Wednesday, January 2oth we again skyped with Monika and after establishing some agreements on what we both are expecting from each other and during my time in Mayana, we all were very excited about having sealed the deal.
I feel very honored that MCP trusts me with their project and has the confidence in me that together we can achieve something great for the community in Mayana.
Yeah – I will be the first interim adviser from MfM working for MCP in Mayana for 2.5 months! Sooooooo excited!!!!