We are now back in Abi Adi and I am able to update properly on the In Country Training that took place in February.
The organisers comprised of three serving volunteers (me, Martin and Paul) plus Geleta and Ruth from the VSO Programme Office. The first week was spent updating information and producing detailed folders for all the new volunteers. For me, it was lovely to be in Addis Ababa and eat some different food – steak sandwiches, chocolate doughnuts and pizza!
From late on the Saturday night, we started doing trips to the airport to collect the new volunteers, who were coming from UK, US, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand! We certainly are an international bunch!
It was then an intensive ten days of workshops and activities to prepare the new arrivals for their roles. There were Amharic language lessons on most days, culture presentations, security briefings, information on Ethiopian history and geopolitics and various inputs from VSO staff to explain the workings of their office. There were also days devoted to either the health or education sectors and another day when representatives from partner organisations joined us to meet their newest memebers of staff. ICT is an intensive time and there is always a lot to take in.
There were also some lighter moments – a multitude of games and energisers, coffee ceremony with the Country Director, an evening reception at the British Ambassador’s home, a pub quiz, shopping trips to get equipment and the infamous scavenger hunt, where the organisers sent the new volunteers out in groups to jump on and off the line taxies, buy various items, find volunteers in cafes and phone special numbers to ask for the Amharic word of the day!
The new volunteers organised their own social events for the evenings too – a night out at a cultural restaurant, introduction to Ethiopian dancing, games night and film night. ICT culminated in the cultural night – good food, dancing and a cake! I got my hair curled especially for the occasion and wore an Ethiopian dress, borrowed from Ruth!
Being an organiser for ICT was a great challenge but also loads of fun! I realised that even though I have been here for only five months, I have learnt a huge amount in that time and was able to pass on my experiences and advice to to others. Martin, Paul, Ruth and Geleta were fabulous to work with and now back in Abi Adi, I’m missing them calling me by my two new nicknames ‘tinish sow’ (‘little person’ – on account of my height difference to Martin and Paul) and ‘jellybean’ (referring to my high energy levels!)
Here’s sending good luck and much love to the 21 newest members of the ever-growing VSO Family!