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Tag: English Teaching

Volunteer English Teaching Experience

Experience English Teaching in Madagascar

Author: Michaela Ondríková, Teaching Volunteer

Volunteer English Teaching Experience

Experience of a Lifetime

The time I spent in Madagascar were 3 incredible weeks. Why? Shortly, changing a perspective by going out of a bubble, allows you see the things, you didn’t see before. Not just like a phrase. Living the local life is totally different than to be closed in one of big hotel resorts. And watching children playing on the beach from small boat differs from the feeling when you know each other’s names.

I mean for me the highlight of the “island life” was the moment when I came to the village and children were shouting my name.  I spent few weeks in small island, Nosy Komba, in the north of Madagascar. Changing life experience? My life is the same but with a different point of view. There are many things that influence you when you are in so unknown part of the world. Going alone to this experience made me more open-minded. And of course, it’s pretty cool to know people from all over the world. It could be another chapter about people in the camp with their life stories and experiences.

My part of this story started one day, while sitting in my room, searching for an opportunity of volunteering abroad. I decided for Madagascar. Or probably it was the beating of my heart when I imagined myself in fairy tale of Madagascar, that decided for me. Ok, my thoughts are sometimes out of reality. But I like the moment when it becomes real. This time it was stunning! To find few free weeks wasn’t such a big deal, with my winter break of study, as the fact that I realized after booking my flight, that it’s rainy season there. Great, Mishka! Prepared for the cyclones, storms and rains, with bags full of waterproof everything and few shorts -in any case, I boarded the plane.

Volunteer English Teaching Experience

After landing in the middle of the new world, there was a good and a bad new. All my waterproof stuff, few really important things (as sleeping bag, some medicals etc.), and tones of donations were stuck on the other side of planet. Well done, life. Welcome to Madagascar. The good one was that the three weeks I spent there were sometimes in between of two big cyclones. So, the shorts and t-shirts were quite useful even if while packing them back in Slovakia, during -15 degrees, it felt little bit weird.

Teaching that children and people from community, was just experience I wish to everybody. An English class with 40 children, without bigger previous experience with teaching. Firstly, it scared me a bit. Than local English teachers showed me the villages, schools, introduced me and made it much better. With their willing to help me and show me everything needed, it became a pleasure. And lessons with children was time of “English games”.  Although planning lessons and walking to village and back was exhausting, the moment when I step to the room full of smiling children, expecting what are we going to do, made me forget the fact that I am all wet, pink (partly red), their activity and life, just didn’t let me passive. After all, what could a class of 40 children, not wild just a little bit noisy, not restless but active, give you? Of course, just positivity, energy and joy!

Volunteer English Teaching Experience

With the youngest it was funny, when I tried to draw them really simple and clear pictures. But my candies became fish and chocolate a mobile-phone. Never mind, at least I know what should I get better in.

Most of the volunteers came to Nosy Komba alone, as I did. However, I felt never lonely. Everyone there was so friendly. They just became your family for few weeks. The closest people you have in that time. Even if in few days you are thousand miles far away, friendships remain. And memories from together local trips, as well.

I could describe every day differently because it was so different. Even walking to nearest village for teaching changed according to the sea tides. In the beginning their life style “mora-mora” (slowly, slowly) was quite strange for me. However, later I realized that it’s actually important to share what time we do have with others.

Getting to know the culture and life just started and I had to already leave. Maybe it’s too cliché, but yes, I brought a bit of Madagascar back home with me. As memories for clear blue ocean, forest with all colors, joyful and helpful people, smiles of children, new friendships – Emotions I am not able to describe…

Now, I am really thankful for this “unknown journey”, that became more familiar than I could ever imagine.

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Volunteer English Teaching Experience


Mamoudou – painting new classroom
BlogCommunity DevelopmentTeaching

Teacher Helps Community Development Volunteers Rebuild School

Author: Emily Borth
Teacher Helps Community Development Volunteers Rebuild SchoolEnglish Classes - Banana Village MRCI 2

Photo by Mark Thijssen

We are all Volunteers

Life in the village means living as part of a very inter-connected community. Everyone helps everyone; that is just part of life here. In the span of a few minutes, you can gather large groups of people to help pull boats out of the water when rough weather hits. Food is often shared. Childcare duties are shared. There is a general air of connectedness. It isn’t unusual for a passerby to ask to share your drinking water, whether they know you or not. People help one another when it’s needed. There never seems to be any shortage of people willing to help out whether it is carrying something heavy off a boat or helping a neighbor rebuild their house. When something needs doing, people just pitch in to get it done. It is one of the things I love about the place and the people here.

Mamoudou Tavandra Mohibo embodies this since of community. The 34-year-old grew up in Marodoka and now raises his 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter here. He keeps active within the community here and during his free time plays football on the local team. But for the last seven years, his main duties in the village come at the school. Mamoudou teachers primary school there at level three. For years now, he has watched the ebb and flow of EPP Ambanoro school district in Marodoka. He was there when the storm, cyclone Enawo destroyed a quarter of their school in March 2017.  The history of this village lives within his long-reaching memory and his love for the community is easy to see. He gentle kindness and giving nature have proven to be a powerful force in helping with the schools rebuild.

Teacher Helps Community Development Volunteers Rebuild SchoolEnglish Classes - Banana Village MRCI 2 copy 2

Photo by Mark Thijssen

Our construction team often brings a packed lunch since Marodoka is quite a distance from Turtle Cove, our base on Nosy Komba. Every morning, volunteers catch the 6:00am boat from Nosy Komba to the port in Hellville on the neighboring island of Nosy Be. They then catch a tuk tuk from Hellville to Marodoka. So, in order to make the most of their time there, they bring a packed lunch so they can work longer before returning to Komba. Often however, they do not bring plates. The glass plates are heavy and at high risk of breaking on the journey, so they just do without. Our forest team solves this problem by using large leaves as plates. But in the village, plate-sized leaves are not as easy to come by.

Mamoudou, seeing this predicament, didn’t hesitate to host the team at his house, just around the corner from the school. His children play outside as the volunteers settle in, his wife handing out plates to the group. This became a regular part of our routine as we rebuilt the school; lunch at Mamoudou’s house. One of our construction volunteers, Mark Thijssen, got to experience this tradition during his time with us. Inspired by Mamoudou’s kindness and his experiences in the village, Mark wanted to give the school a gift before he left. He spent some time taking photos of students at play outside the school and printed them out. With help from the teachers, he hung posters filled with these photos in each of the school’s classrooms.

Teacher Helps Community Development Volunteers Rebuild SchoolEnglish Classes - Banana Village MRCI 2 copy

Photo by Mark Thijssen

Beyond being a source of inspiration to our volunteers and providing plates and a place for lunch, Mamoudou’s support yields something even more tangible. He spends much of his free time at the schoolhelping with the actual construction process. He has been involved in work from the very beginning and just this week helped put the final coat of paint and finishing touches on the classroom. He stands viewing the almost finished classroom, a look of pure contentment on his face while the children play, running in circles around the building. This is what community means.

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