After arriving home from holiday in South Africa with close friends, one of whom was volunteering in a remote village in Africa, I made one of those lifestyle choices. The ones we all dream of in the quiet moments between phone calls and new emails.
On the night of my return I lit one of those big candles on my deck in Parnell. I decided that by the time it burned down, I would leave New Zealand on an IT adventure to volunteer my skills.
I found an excellent volunteer agency called Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) which was founded by Sir Edmund Hillary after he was approached by the people of Nepal to help build desperately needed local schools. From these noble beginnings VSA was formed. I feel both humbled and honoured to follow at least a little in Sir Edmund Hillary’s footsteps to help others less fortunate than ourselves.
I sit here now in the heat on a beach on Buka Island, Bougainville, the breeze on my face and arms, making the layers of dried sweat pleasant again. There is the sound of kids playing and waves gently breaking on the reef.
I’m looking out at the golden sands and crystal clear waters, kids playing in a traditional dugout canoe and cooking smoke from villages lazily drifting up between the plantations and lush green forest. The taste of fresh, sweet pineapple is lingering in my mouth. I regret nothing of my escape, except not putting some rum in my coconut, which I’m told is delicious.
Over the following months, I plan to cover what it’s like to volunteer, and to practice IT in a place where you cannot get a network switch, let alone some network cabling. If you could start from scratch and implement a network and email and the things IT people in the modern world take for granted, what approach would you take. What works best? What is the compromise between best practice, getting stuff done and sustainability? How can we ensure the work we do can be sustained by locals, often with few resources and only the training we can provide?
These, and many other questions I hope to answer in the following months, in this blog, so stick around and enjoy the ride.
Comment by jeffnz, on 27-Oct-2013 18:39
Good for you I'm sure myself and a lot of others will be looking forward to your adventures
Comment by nate, on 28-Oct-2013 14:34
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