December 17, 2010
Hungarian Volunteer thrilled by experience in St. Vincent

Maria Pap, a Hungarian volunteer at the Richmond Vale Academy, at Chateaubelair, is thrilled by her experience in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Maria arrived here in January this year as a volunteer to commence training at the Academy, which facilitated her study travel to Ecuador so that she could practice Spanish and get to know the Ecuadorian Culture.

“You can imagine arriving from the European winter. I enjoyed it very much: sunshine, sea, palm trees and a lot more,” said Maria.

Maria spent three months training at the Academy. She participated in classes about the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Caribbean, Latin America and Ecuador.

“We learnt about the reasons of poverty and did garden farming, too. I had a very good team and we had different kinds of events: Cultural Festival in Rose Hall, Open Saturday at the Community Center in Richmond, and fundraising for the St. Benedict’s Orphanage in Georgetown. We had really good times by visiting Owia Salt Pond, the falls of St. Vincent and hiking the Volcano,” Maria said of her experience here.

After her training she went on the one-month ‘Child Aid’ trip to Equador where she worked with 25 families in four sectors of a city, called Milagro.

“Everyday we visited other families, gave information about health issues and taught a lot of arts and crafts. We also had four children’s groups teaching them English and having painting classes. I enjoyed this part the most. Being with kids is a real fun, they were my best Spanish teachers!” she said.

She is back to share her experiences with the new Ecuador team and all the people of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I’m very grateful because I could learn a lot about the world and about myself, too. I wanted to see the world we live in, try a different life, meet new people and be more experienced. And in the end I got all of them! I’ve lived in two beautiful countries, had many friends from all over the world and such incredible adventures I won’t forget ever!” said Maria. She plans to stay on a bit in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

Elvis Anye, of Cameroon, an employee of Richmond Vale Academy with responsibility for Promotion, said his organization conducts two main programmes: the first is a 14-month programme, which allows one to train to go to Africa (Mozambique and Malawi) and the second is a nine month stint at the Academy which prepares a volunteer to travel Equador.

Anye, who has been living here for the past four years, said the training for the Africa programme is divided into three parts, which is covered over a six month period. The first part entails volunteers travelling to St.Vincent and the Grenadines from various parts of the world. This is followed by the group studying history and the various economic situations faced by African countries. They also engage in gardening and maintenance.

“We develop skills and learn new skills that we can use,” said Anye.

The cost of the programme is US$4,400, but part scholarships are also granted the foreign volunteers. Scholarships are also granted to Vincentians.

The Academy trains teachers, conducts HIV/AIDS projects, and trains persons in other skilled areas.