Friday, March 20, 2015

Alex Casteel Team Leader Cohort 11 Final Blog of the Cohort English Version

 Having lunch with the UNAIS team and the new team leader, the team leaders for Childhood and youth empowerment, Allistair and Vincent are standing at the back
 Mark, Liam and Alejandro from our team
 Eugenia, And Kendall and Daniella from the our team
 Me, Emma and Alejandro
 ICS manager Eric with the famous Doctor Angela and her sister who kindly allowed us to use her Gallery for the Photo Exhibition.
From left to right, Megan, Kendall, Daniella, Jules, Me , Liam, Rudy, Mark, Alejandro and Fiona.

Alexander Casteel Team Leader Cohort 11 Childhood and youth Empowerment



This is the final blog for the  Childhood and youth empowerment team cohort 11. I would like to start this Blog by saying thanks to all of the team.

I have enjoyed working with all of the team and feel lucky enough to have met colleagues and ended up with friends. I am going to be very sad to leave, and will miss everyone very much.

I was very lucky with the team, and would like to  thank Alejandro (Pizus) Calderon who has been the best workmate to work with, I would like to thank Emma and Adri the Cooperantes technicas for all their hard work and for their friendship.

I would like to thank Daniella the in country volunteer and also to praise her for her hard work and dedication. I hope that she has every success in her future.

I would like to thank all the Staff at International service in Bolivia (UNAIS) because they were very kind and caring and they looked after us very well. I would especially like to say thank you to Eric Nadeau our boss, he was very kind and helpful, and I felt at home and welcome working for him.

Now it’s time to talk about our team of UKV’s, I was lucky enough to work with Liam, Jules, Mark, Megan, Kendall and Fiona. They worked very, very hard and did a great job. The way the work was split up was that Liam and Kendal worked at a center in Las Lomas, Mark and Jules were to work at Avance comunitario in Chasquipampa, and Megan and Fiona worked at the centres Of Villa Fatima and Villa Copacabana.

I can’t really talk about all the work that was done, but with The help of Adri and Emma we worked at all the centers and were asked by some of the directors of the centers to take on additional work. On top of the work at the centers the volunteers held and Action Friday a guided Learning , they painted two murals and they helped Childfund to research Sports in Development and work on the Sexual health Module.

We held closing events at two of the centers which went very well and required a lot of hard work from the team and we also held a photo exhibition to raise money for a digital camera for one of the centers.

One of the persistent problems with this cohort was that many of the Volunteers got sick with most of the volunteers having to go to the clinic and two of them being admitted. Unfortunately Jules actually needed an operation, and this meant her staying in the hospital for a number of days.

To highlight how hard the volunteers worked , while Megan was in hospital recovering she actually carried on with her translation work.

I would like to say a little about the diversity of our team, who were diverse in terms of Education, social status, religion and lived across the country from Brighton to Glasgow and from Newcastle all the way across to Wales. They worked hard together and managed to produce some excellent and challenging sessions for the young people.

Liam and Kendall managed to do many things from Singing and Yoga to puppet shows and planting seeds. I was lucky to see many of Liam and Kendall’s sessions where they were supported by Adrianna and Daniella, and they were fun and Interactive. They worked with Pre School children all the way through to 17 year olds. Liam also helped with the two Murals we painted where his artistic skills came in most handy. Without his Energy and entertaining nature this cohort would not have been anywhere near as much fun.

Mark and Jules worked in Avance supported by Adrianna and they did some excellent Lessons and also ran a sports day as well as holding the Action Friday at Avance where we had stalls promoting values and we had a mural which we painted with the young people. At Avance the lessons were very varied and two highlights from visiting this center were following a lesson about environment. The Young people were set a challenge of bringing in empty bottles, we thought they would bring in a couple each but when we arrived for the next session there was a mountain of bottles waiting for us. The second highlight was watching the Young people following Mark around like the pied piper all wearing aqualungs made of plastic bottles while they imagined how it would be if the air was terribly polluted. (I am going to try to post the video clip of this!)

Megan and Fiona ran sessions at Villa Fatima and Villa Copacabana supported by Emma which started after the others because the centers had not opened until later, however the Workshops they delivered for the young people were excellent and the young people seemed to enjoy them very much. Fiona and Megan also took on a lot of extra roles, doing a lot of research for Childfund to help with the Sexual health Module and also to research Sports in development where they delivered a presentation along with Mark to ChildFund, which was received very well. Mark and Fiona also did a great deal of research on youth in Development  for the Guided learning.

The team also worked on a photography exhibition which raised money to buy a digital camera and also raised awareness of UNAIS and our work in the centers with the young people.

I hope that from this Blog you can tell how happy I am to have worked with all of the team for these three months, how amazing Bolivia is and the people who live here are.

I urge anyone else who is in a position to be able to undertake the ICS programme either as a volunteer or a team leader to do so. And if you are not spread the word, it is a chance for anyone from any background to try the volunteer experience and maybe change your Life…..



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