My Life Volunteering

I have spent many years in different countries under a whole host of different volunteering programs and I wanted to create a blog as a sort of online record of my activities. You have to be a special person to give up your time (and income in many cases) to help others but it is worth it in many different ways. It is great to see how other people live in different countries around the world and without the time I have spent with these programs I doubt I would ever have had the chance to meet and enjoy so many diverse people and cultures.

If you have never tried this before it can be daunting but I made sure I made the most of each and every trip to not only focus on helping others but to build lasting friendships that have a strong foundation. Often the experiences felt bond people together for many years after the actual trip.

Growing up in London meant I had the opportunity to travel almost anywhere in the world as the UK is so interconnected. Nearly every destination in the world is a flight away. I spent some time in the US during my youth and I really do recommend it. The US is so big and there are so many opportunities to help people and get involved in their communities.  As the US is an English speaking nation this also makes it a lot easier. I would suggest anyway looking to undertake their first trip consider the US.

Later on I decided to be a little more adventurous and joined up with Habit for Humanity on a trip into Africa. The way people live there is sad when compared to a European lifestyle. There is so much to be done in Africa and there are many different programs running right throughout the year. I so enjoyed my trip in to Africa that I decided to emigrate to South Africa where I work with many different organizations on projects right throughout Sub Saharan Africa. You could never fully explore this vast country and the scenery, animals and different landscapes ensure you always have something new to experience. Traveling in and out of South Africa is quick but expensive which often prohibits the costs of certain projects but many corporate companies here are involved and end up helping the fundraising. The local churches also do their part and often they have trips on the go right throughout the year.

Although this a short into to me I plan to update this blog occasionally with trip reports, pictures and even video for some of the projects we undertake. If you wish to get more information then please use the contact form.


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Finding myself in South Africa again is not completely unplanned as I have spent so much time in this part of the world and to be honest I do not think I could ever get tired of it! This has to be one of the most amazing countries in the world where you can always find something amazing to see. The place does have it’s problems and like many other destinations you have to be a little bit careful of where you go, especially during the night. Even with all of the problems it is still full of amazing people and when it comes to volunteering there is enough work to keep you busy for a lifetime!

This time I have teamed up with a small local church which has being trying to get water pipes into a local village. This sounds so basic and for many of you that live in the Western world will be a shock! Something so simple as running water should be available to everyone – without it life can be very hard. I have been working with a small excavator trying to lay some simple pipes from a nearby river through to the center of the village. This sounds simple but it is quite challenging as part of the way is via a small incline which prohibits the simple water flow. Luckily, the local church has donated a small pump which gets over this hurdle and should enable us to be successful with the project. Most of the local people have been happy to help as they have spent most of their lives carting buckets of water from the river to their homes.

When I am not busy with the project I have been getting in some golf.  This country has plenty of championship rated courses that are awesome to play. Coupled with the decent weather throughout the year SA is a golfers paradise. I have also been working with a golfer from the club on their indoor golf simulator which has made a steep difference to my game. I try to get in a couple of hours practice every few days (I really don’t have the time to play a full round) and I can already see a marked difference in my ball skills!

Once this project is completed I will be heading to Cape Town for a small holiday and having a couple of meetings with a large corporate that might just be interested in sponsoring a couple of projects I have in mind. I can’t say more right now but if all goes well then I shall probably remain here for most of the year. I will update soon and give a little bit more information on my plans.

 


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Golf

Although I love volunteering and helping others who are less fortunate I do need to make time for my other passion which is the game of golf. Having grown up on a golf course I learned the game at any early age and at one stage I was planning to turn professional. A really cold winter ended up in disaster for me when I slipped outside the clubhouse and managed to break my arm. This prevented me from playing golf for a couple of months and even when I did manage to get back into it I suffered with restricted movement and a lot of pain. Over the years I have improved things by spending time at my local Physio but my swing never recovered from the early days. These days I don’t really play that much competitive golf, I just enjoy the game for what it is and the time out in the fresh air!

Volunteering to help others has taken me to some unique locations around the world and I have played many golf courses that I otherwise would have never seen. From the Links courses in Scotland through to some of the modern resort courses in LA you can always find a new challenge and you can never run out of enthusiasm. Golf is also a sport where you can make lots of new friends and is often a general talking point around the pub! The other wonderful thing about golf is the handicapping system, no matter how different the skill levels of different players are they can still compete on a fair and balanced level. In theory, any golfer could decide to take on a professional and with the handicaps in place the game would be fair and a challenge for both players.

Keeping a golf swing in optimal condition takes a lot of work and practice. This is not always possible if you live in a colder climate so I would recommend using a golf simulator like the Optishot for home practice. This product is well worth the cash as it enables a player to work on their swings day or night and even when the weather is terrible outside! I probably would spend hours with this thing if I didn’t have lots of other stuff to get done!

If you plan on doing some volunteer work that will find you traveling to different countries then you might want to spend a bit of time at the practice range to see if there is a chance you enjoy the game. Traveling and golf work together and it can really add to your experience, help with making you new friends and present a challenge in different parts of the world! Obviously, there are many other sports to choose from but getting away for a long walk on the course is great time to feel free and away from everything else going on!

 

 


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