First day on training course, focusing on health and security, and not sure whether it was nerves or excitement but when I was asked to introduce myself to the group, my mind went blank! I couldn’t remember where I’m going!!
A few interesting things … 98.8% of VSO volunteers don’t have any health problems or accidents but the nurse ran through a list of some of the complaints she’d come across. One of the reasons for ‘Psychological Repatriation’ as they call it was ‘being charged by an elephant’. Well needless to say the whole room howled with laughter… except me!!
On another part of the course, we did some ‘Stakeholder Analysis’, drawing a diagram to illustrate the interaction between (in UCF’s case) the donors, the charity, government wildlife department, Trustees, local people (villagers) and the end users – in this case elephants! Patrick, one of our Fab Three trainers, commented that it was the first time he’d seen elephants as Stakeholders!
- Recognise the need to be dependent on other people, esp when you first arrive (difficult for a lot of us as VSO volunteers by their nature seem to be pretty independent).
- Wash regularly and keep dry under your boobs…! (not a problem I’m going to have to worry about frankly).
- Keep any cuts covered up in areas of high pollution.
- If you’re eating street food, go to the busiest places and ask for it to be cooked for longer (you’re expected to be fussy anyway!)
- Avoid ice or drink the drink quickly before it’s melted! There was debate about whether exposure to a very small amount of bactieria is the same as exposure to a large amount. Apparently you can sometimes get away with a small amount of exposure to a ‘bug’ (tho obviously best avoided if poss).
- If you’re travelling in public transport along bumpy roads, think of others as passenger as bubble wrap (i.e. sit right in the middle of everyone!)
- Spit don’t swallow (when you’re brushing your teeth that is!)