GLEN Lagos Nigérie 2010

* * * * * * * * * * * * povídání a fotky z tříměsíční GLEN stáže v Lagosu * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * stories and pictures from a three-month internship in Lagos * * * * * * * *

Stáž / Internship

Holiday Camp in Ikeja

First week of our holiday program that is taking part in our quarter Ikeja is over. Today we played the final football match, celebrated with the winning team and said Bye! to all the children. There were so many of them. On Monday “only” around forty, yesterday I counted over hundred twenty. „Nobody here prepares anything for the kids,“ explains Yomi, my boss, „you could do the holiday program for month and they would still be coming and more of them. They always tell each other about it. And even though you had explained that it is over today, they will anyway come on Monday asking for you.”

I am tired, but anyway have this great feeling inside. This feeling is created by moments when something really works out just great. And at least one moment like this comes every day. Little girl runs to me to show me her beautiful necklace that she made herself from beads. The boys are concentrating hard while playing bowling with skittles made out of plastic bottles. One of the girls prepares short drama performance, task that even some of the volunteers would have troubles with. Yesterday it was amazing to see how the teams cooperated when doing one of the teambuilding activities. They put so much energy into lifting their team members and pushing and pulling them through the prepared spider net obstacle. Today, it surprised me how creative the kids were. Out of trash, they managed to build cups, microphone, slippers, balls or hats. Every day there is a moment that makes it so totally worth it and I feel that we are accomplishing something.


Most of the time, it seems to me that we are in the middle of a chaos and are not sure what to do with it. The kids are unable to stay at one spot for a second, they want to see everything. They come and go as they please and we can not simply close the door and send them away. „That the teams have already twenty members and nobody really knows which kids belong to which team?“ Oh well, nothing we can really do about it. „That the little ones are only three years old and we have expected children from eight years up?” Doesn't matter, they can have some fun too. They come and go as they please, parents come only exceptionally. Like today. „What did that woman want?“ I ask one of the volunteers. „Her child ran away, because he wanted to come here, but was not allowed to come. So she just came to pick him up. But don't worry, I told her that she should not beat him“

I don't know what we would do without the help of the volunteers, mostly unemployed young men and women that are willing to help us for free. That is not so common here, nobody works for free. Without them we wouldn't be able to manage so many kids, just they can explain the games and activities in a way that the kids understand. I am totally amazed when I see how great some of them are with the kids and I would do anything for them to have them come again next day. Thanks to them we have the nice moments that leave that great feeling inside. There are not just nice moments. Today, one of the volunteers lost control and when a child provoked him, he ran after him and started beating and kicking him. Something totally unacceptable, but anyway a bit understandable. There were over forty kids there in the morning and just two volunteers to deal with them.

Many of the activities don't work out as planned. Most of the volunteers have never played these games before and it is hard for them to understand properly what exactly we expect from them. And there is not much time for explanation. The kids are impatient and the volunteers rarely come on time.  But we also come late. Once we wait for the electricity kick back in, next time it takes ages to get a key from the community center so that we could hide from rain and sometimes there is just too big line in the bathroom and we would like to get at least our teeth brushed. Few of the volunteers come regularly, so every day we patiently explain the program to the newcomers and are glad that somebody came.

And in this chaos I and Helen run around trying to manage ten tasks at one time. Make some pictures, take some videos, move the groups from one station to another without the group running all over the place. Explain to the volunteers simple game for the fifth time and think of a new one if the first one is still too complicated. In between we manage to do interview for South African TV station and experience a fight when a boy from the street comes in just to pick up fight with someone. And we see many of injured thumbs and feet, that happens a lot when you play soccer on concrete without shoes…

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