Anjelika Abouissa - 2015 Program Participant
What was your program like?
I participated in several programs, like life from the Blue, its an educational program that we organized for children to do education on the sea environment, talking about sea animals and also pollution and other questions. It was in 2012, we prepared it from one month and then it was a week of education.
Why did you decide to volunteer abroad?
Because once I finished my studies in France in 2010 I’d like to have more field experience and to go and meet people. And also every time when I was in Egypt, I was just staying at home with my family and at that time I wanted to do something more. So I learn about Baladna organization and I contact them to do some educational work. So that’s how it happen.
Why did you choose your program?
My program was based on children education and I love marine biology, and I discovered also that l like to teach biology but not in the school way but more like in a funny way with games. So that’s how I managed to do two things.
What made your program especially interesting?
Because there was many interesting people in Quseir, our work was in Quseir it was on the red sea south of Hurghada about 150 kilometers. People were nice and interesting and very active, and they wanted to do good work. About the education, it was like very motivating and very interesting to do it. Once we did it, it was really nice, and children were happy and we were happy, it was a good time. We had a really good time.
What tips do you have for future participants?
You need to know many things. First, about the good food that you will find in Quseir. You’ll find good falafel by the sea. Then you must also know you will meet very good people, very active people that will be good friends for you. And you will also discover an old city, very interesting city, ancient city, which is small but very full of colors and nice people. Your work will be nice because people there like to work and they like to do new things. If you have a good subject, a good program that what you want to do, you will be easily able to do it.
What was your favorite part about your program?
Eating sandwiches, and also staying near the sea and the sunset where you can see some wild foxes coming to meet you. Also meeting good people and having fun, learning many things, because actually while you’re doing things you learn. You give something but you also receive much more than you give. So I learn many things about the people and about the children, like what they didn’t like so that I can do my job better. Now I’m a science educator, so it was a good training for me to learn many things.
What's one thing you would have done differently?
Differently, I would like to spend more time, not just one month or two month, maybe years.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
A day in my life program: It was in the summer, it was hot. So you wake up early and you’re hot. You take breakfast, you buy your favorite sandwiches, and then you go to meet people and start to organize your work. Meeting volunteers and preparing the program, you start to write down what do you need to do, what kind of materials you will need, also organize what the volunteers who will do what and at what time. Also thinking together what is better way to do something, so its cooperative work, and then you will eat again. If it was a day with the children then the children will come and you will start your work. It will be very funny. You will be hungry again and then you sleep; but before you can also go out and stay at the coffee shop by the sea, have a nice drink, and speak with people.
Did you experience culture shock?
No because as I told you I’m half Egyptian so I already know. But it was more like I was impressed by people from Quseir because they are really different from people I knew in big cities, like Alexandria or Cairo. People are more like always busy but actually they are doing not lot of things but they pretend being very very busy. In Quseir, people always find the time to be with you, to help you, to work with you, and they are really active and they are never tired. If you say ok now we should work at 8 o’clock in the evening, they will say okay we should work and start to work.
Where in the world are you living now?
I’m in living in France in Marseille.
How have your experiences abroad impacted your life?
So as I told you when I start volunteering, I had no real experience yet. I just finished my studies, so it was something very useful and something new for me. Because what I knew from the university I could put it in educational way for children, it was like practical, it was very practical until now. I use what I learned from the children in my work, so it was useful.
Any final words for future volunteers?
Just come and you will see. It will change your life, maybe or maybe not, but for sure you will eat good sandwiches and you will meet good people. That’s for sure!