Thursday, August 7, 2014

Up in the clouds

It seems to be weird writing this blog for my 4th week on the ICS programme, as back in the UK I remember thinking that an 11 week project seemed like such a huge undertaking and a massively extended period of time for voluntary work. However, I’m already at the end of my 4th week and it feels like no time at all and it has suddenly dawned on me that these 11 weeks are no time at all for the projects we are all undertaking. I think it might have something to do with the nature of the ICS scheme as the scope of the projects extends far beyond our short stay and that sense of working towards a larger goal makes our time here seem fleeting. However, this feeling of shortness doesn’t feel overly negative, in fact I believe that it is a great motivator, as it means that any time wasted becomes apparent almost immediately, meaning that you can learn from those moments to better apply yourself. It also means that you feel like going out and seeing more of this enchanting country; such as the truly incredible Lago Titicaca and Isla del Sol.  Though the time I here may seem fleeting, I have already had 4 of the best weeks of my life in one of the most interesting and vibrant countries I have been lucky enough to visit. From breath-taking (literally at 4,100m) views every morning on my way to the International Service office; to partaking in the annual parade and fiesta to celebrate La Paz’s ‘birthday’; fathoming the confusing but effective public transport and meeting some of the greatest people you could ever hope to meet: La Paz, Bolivia, International Service and ICS has always thrown up something new and exciting in just 4 weeks. 

Most of the ICS group working with Focapaci up in El Alto. 

As I mentioned earlier the feeling of working towards a larger goal works very well on the ICS programme as I am confident that I am continuing the great work done by the previous cohorts and that when I begrudgingly leave Bolivia in late September the following cohorts will build upon the work done by me and my colleagues. This is an incredibly positive notion as there is a great mixture of concrete proof of our actions, such as construction of greenhouses, educational videos etc. but a larger feeling of positive change that will continue for years after we have left and this is where I think the largest benefit of ICS lies; that as well our own personal development and brilliant individual experiences, there is a longer lasting, over-arching positive contribution to the country made from the programme.

Attended a youth employment forum in El Alto with International Service and many youth organisations that operate in El Alto.

Posted by: Josh Henstock

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