Patricia Calvo: "Tanzania has become a part of my life"

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Laura Morral
  • The NGO work to improve access to the education of mass communities in the Monduli Juu region
    The NGO work to improve access to the education of mass communities in the Monduli Juu region .
  • The village of Tanzania where the NGO works
    The village of Tanzania where the NGO works.

The support of voluntary native people of the NGO 'Voluntariado África' allowed Calvo to establish links with the people and appreciate the cultural impact of a territory different from the western mindset.

You are volunteer at the NGO Voluntariado África. What does this NGO do?

'Voluntariado África' is the web page of the NGOs Wosen Yelesh and Momoi Integrated Development Organization (MIDO). The two organizations work together. One is in Arusha (Tanzania) to improve access to the education of mass communities in the Monduli Juu region and provide educational and socio-economic development resources for future generations.


How did you get to 'Voluntariado África'?

Already from a young age, I should have been 7 or 8, I told my mother to send me to the refugee camps in Tindouf (Morocco) but, of course, she did not want to take me. So when I turned 21 I found a volunteer project in Kenya and I went alone.

The following year I found the NGO of La Paquita and Dani ('Voluntariado África'). I made a Skype with them and I signed up for volunteering. In this volunteer you also volunteer Native NGO volunteers to bring you to the territory and the village where you have to coexist with the people there. Native volunteers make you understand your culture, your way of being, you can communicate with people in the tribe ...


What kind of support did you receive from these voluntary native people?

These volunteers are here to help you with everything you need. They also helped me to get to know their culture more closely, to go into their ancestral knowledge ... It is a cultural change and a great need for our Western vision and they guide you. They are with you almost 24 hours so you do not miss anything. I loved this experience and since then I have been repeating 5 years.


And what are you doing or what are you doing there?

I volunteered for education. Today with three schools. He taught about 70 boys and girls from 3 to 8 years old English and Swahili. The teaching there uses much the technique of repetition. But of course, you found that older children knew more or respond faster, so that younger children did not learn anything. Then you also had to teach teachers other methods of learning or to understand the families and teachers that used the notebooks. The students have notebooks but they did not use them because they did not want them to end up fearing not having any more ...


Five years ago repeating. Experience has had a lot of impact on you?

If. I have repeated because this NGO is very small and familiar. I have made friends with the volunteers of the town, with Dani and Paquita ... And above all, I've had a lot of impact on cultural contrast, it's incredible.


Do you remember any sensation or anecdote you've marked?

On weekends we went to a village that, to get there, we had to walk 8 hours in the middle of the savannah. As we walked we saw zebras and all kinds of animals ... When we arrived at the village, there was nothing, only the houses of the masses. We shared the house made of adobe where there were only beds made with trunks and dried goat's skin to warm you up.

When we walked in the middle of the savannah, I thought that we did it for pleasure, to enjoy the landscape but these people should walk every day for eight hours to bring home food or go looking for anything ... change the perspective ...


What did Tanzania give you and her people?

Before volunteering, I always liked volunteering. But this experience so close to the people and the voluntary people of the villages has changed my life. It has changed my way of seeing things or feeling them. The perspective of seeing or focusing on my problems has changed. Now I manage my emotions differently and I value the efforts made by boys and girls to go to school. I watched as a 3 year old child walked one hour each day to go to school. Here we live differently. Tanzania has really become part of my life.


What impact did you have with those people that accompanied you?

With Paolo, for example, he is a boy who is with you 24 hours and helps you a lot about the subject of the language, it makes you an interpreter. They are very aware of you, always to solve any obstacles or problems you may have ...

But apart from that, having so many hours in the end learn to know people and also not to judge or have prejudices, especially in cultural matters. I was very shocked that polygamy was allowed there. For us it is an unthinkable thing. Every woman has her house and lives with her children. And the man sleeps every night where he likes it. There was a massai that had 120 women.


Are you still linked to the NGO?

I am helping Paquita with the subject of social networks and to give talks by different schools and centers with Dani who is Masai.

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