meeting their needs. It is a privilege to be there. While visiting their community we are in their house, it is not our role to be masters in someone else’s house. We are there to love and help out, not have our own way. There may be times when we are sure we have a better way, and we should share our ideas, but we must respect the community’s decisions to accept or reject our suggestions. Integrate every volunteer into the group and connect with all the group members individually, as well as collectively, and help the group to feel a unity and strong sense of belonging to the expedition family. Help the volunteers adjust their own expectations of what their role and contribution may be in the community. This doesn’t mean that the expedition is primarily for the volunteers with little benefit to the community, although in terms of awareness or consciousness building, the volunteers will probably benefit most. The community will benefit by the new school or water system or whatever the project(s) is/are, and they will also be more unified as a community because of having worked together on a community project. Both groups will benefit and enjoy the interaction of two very different cultures and the different personality types that are brought together on an expedition. Remind the volunteers of the beauty of the community and the beauty of the people and their environment. At the same time acknowledge the poverty, lack of education, and struggles of the community. If we are open to the beauty of the community environment we can enjoy the simplicity and serenity of the community, and recognize some of our own culture’s challenges. Enable the expedition experience to be fun and meaningful for all volunteers before, during, and after the expedition. A big part of this is helping them process what happens in the community and what types of benefits accrue to both community and volunteers. We set ourselves up for failure if we worry about the potential negatives and therefore put our energy into avoiding the negatives. We have much more power when we focus on the positive and keep our thinking and actions positive. Use your creativity to employ interesting, interactive approaches to pre-expedition briefings. You can utilize visual aids, skits, create a Jeopardy game to review important information, or create situational conversations between two people in front of the group on expedition topics. You can divide up into pairs or groups to discuss key questions. Be sure to include team-building activities as part of your briefings. Pre-preparation team assignments are just that: for the purpose of planning, preparing supplies, teaching approaches and materials, etc. Once the expedition is in the community, all participants can explore taking on new roles and even have a different role each day if they choose. Everyone will be expected to contribute to the project unless they are ill. However, it is not necessary to be overly concerned about being busy all the time. Help the volunteers understand that they need to make time to find the hidden treasures waiting for them in the community, such as visiting community homes, playing games with children, 3
Published on Mar 27, 2012
Ascend Travel's Service Expedition Leadership Manual to Cusco, Peru. All the tools you need to organize a Humanitarian Service Expedition wi...