[It is one of my paintings on my bedroom wall – A girl dreaming of picnic]
When I was young, the night before the picnic was always an excitement, sometimes even better than the trip itself. Packing my small bag with chips and candies, listing up songs to sing together, and chatting about what to do with my best friends. At the age of 30, I’m feeling the same as an 11-year-old girl, being excited about the new adventure, but with a long checklist as a grown-up;
☑ Vaccination & medications
☑ Visa to Kenya
☑ Laptop and communication plan
☑ Flight ticket
☑ Personal belongings
☑ Letting people know that I will be away for 6 months
☑ And the most important… Mindset – Getting ready for a change
Now you realized that it is not a casual weekend trip or a picnic? It is all for a new journey called ‘PULSE’.
It is a GSK’s skills-based volunteering program which has been launched in 2009. With this program, over 600 employees from 60 countries have worked with 112 non-profit organizations, each for 3 or 6 months.
My assignment is to work as an Evaluation and Learning Advisor with Save the Children in Kenya, Africa. I will take the responsibility to strengthen the GSK-funded Health Signature Program, Boresha, focused on improving maternal and new-born health. I was asked to gather evidence through research and studies and build the internal Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning (MEAL) team capacity to ensure sustainability.
My journey will begin on 28th of August 2017 and last for 6 months.
Now I’m about 4 weeks ahead of the beginning, being excited and afraid at the same time.
When I decided to apply for this program, I thought it is just like many other volunteering I have previously participated in, but it was not. There is no tangible job asked for me to do. It will be a part of my job to find what I can improve and contribute to there from the beginning and achieve it as well.
Of course, I’m afraid of new environment too – I’ve never been to Africa which is, WOW. Also, I’m afraid of being alone in a small town, not being recommended to go outside after sunset. But it is what worries me the most – Setting my goal & job on my own and achieving it.
I’ve been so much used to do what I was asked to do – at schools, at lab, and even at work.
I take this opportunity to find what I can do and achieve by myself in a whole new environment with new people.
Faced with this challenge, I wish I could find the right solution and make it.
Wish me all the good luck!
Sora, 3rd of August, 2017.