about the author
Youth Outreach Coordinator
HI – My name is Graham Bell. I have been an educator for the last 13 years, teaching at both primary and secondary levels in the UK and in international schools.
In September 2009, four pairs of students enrolled in Dutch universities started a six month internship in Africa. This life changing experience will provide them with a unique opportunity to experience the realities of humanitarian aid first hand, thanks to the TNT Global Experience Programme (TNT GEP).
The programme, launched in 2005, is a collaboration between the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), TNT - one of our leading private sector partners and AIESEC - the international student association. For more information about the programme, visit: http://www.movingtheworld.org/
Starting today we will follow the adventures of Guido and Marieke in Madagascar, Brechtje and Robert in Tanzania, Sonja and Tim in Zambia and Elise and Darko in Gambia. Check it out…
‘Rome and touchdown in Tana’
Written by Guido van Heugten
After trainings at the headquarters of the World Food Programme in Rome I arrived in Antananarivo and will start my internship tomorrow. It has been great so far and really looking forward to begin!
At my trainings at the WFP in Rome a woman told me that when you go to another country and stay there for quite some time there are three stages a person goes through. The first one being the honeymoon, where everything is nice, you keep exploring new things and you fall in love with the country. This mindset changes after about three months when you start to dislike a lot of things and start seeing the other (more negative) sides of living in the particular country. Finally, after about six months you can totally adapt and got enough experience, know all the nice sides of living there but you are also aware of the countries hazards.
I'm now currently in my honeymoon. This is my first experience of being in a sub-Saharan African country and really loved the last couple of days. Everything is new, exiting and I'm really looking forward to what is ahead.
But first Rome, where I got the first impressions of the World Food Programme (which is here the PAM, Programme Alimentaire Mondial). We learned about the organization, got sessions on security, nutrition, school feeding, blogging, you name it. The people over there really inspired me, for instance there was a woman telling about her experience working in a refugee camp in Darfur, somebody who just came from Laos where she worked a couple of months, a woman from Congo, who was telling about school feeding and explained about her time at school.. And all these people have one thing in common, they all have the drive to, in sometimes very stressful and dangerous situations, help others in need.
It is shocking to realize that 1 out of 6 people do not get enough food to stay healthy. All in all, these days really made me motivated to go out there and try to do what I can to help these people.
The person who was selected to go with me is a very nice girl from Amsterdam (Marieke Smits), who has already spend six months working for the WFP in Madagascar, which makes everything a lot easier. At arrival in Antananarivo it took a while before we could leave the airport (the only baggage belt broke down…), but afterwards we drove into town with the WFP jeep and were dropped off at a house of one of Marieke's friends, where we are going to stay the first couple of weeks. It is a really nice place, very homely and kind of old French colonial and has the sweetest guards. Since the first night we already went into town I already got to meet a lot of new people from all over the place.
One thing that is not so nice is that after a couple of months there were some heavy political demonstrations in town. Apparently tomorrow people are expecting it to become even more intense, because the ban to demonstrate will be lifted then. We will see. And since part of my internship is on security I think there will be enough to do.
Tomorrow is my first day at work. I will start with meeting everybody and discussing my work, can't wait and hope this 'honeymoon-feeling' will last for my entire stay!
To find out more visit www.movingtheworld.org