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GVI Case Studies - Walter Albro

GVI Case Studies - Walter Albro

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Published by GVI
GVI volunteer Walter Albro answers some questions about his experience volunteering abroad in Kenya.
GVI volunteer Walter Albro answers some questions about his experience volunteering abroad in Kenya.

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Published by: GVI on Sep 10, 2010
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GVI Volunteer Case Study
Name: Walter AlbroAge: 33Gender: MaleCountry of Residence: USAStart Date: July 2nd 2010Volunteer Program: Volunteer Vacation in Kenya
Read on to find out more about Walter's experience...!
GVI- What were your initial reactions when arriving on the project?Walter- I did not know what to expect going into the 2 week Tsavo WestConstruction and Safari project. Before leaving… I was comfortable… used to mycity life... and the accessibility of what I now see as the frivolous luxuries we takefor granted on a day to day basis. To be completely honest… my pre-tripthoughts were naïve in nature… primarily focused on achieving selfish life goalsof ‘Volunteering Abroad’ (an arrogantly broad term in hindsight) and going on an‘African Safari'.
… did my perspective change in a hurry once I got intoMahandakini!!! It was like my blind American eyes were opened to a globalcommunity I never knew existed before. I felt ignorant and guilty for mypreconceptions coming into the trip and will forever be thankful for theexperience and life lessons I learned during this project.GVI- What was the best thing about your trip?Walter- Working side-by-side with the AMAZING people of Mahandakini… as wellas the other volunteers, who I still share a close bond and communicate dailywith, was utterly and simply life changing. I will not forget to mention the gluethat kept us together… the GVI field staff, who astounded me with theirorganization, execution, easy-going attitudes and above all passion for what wewere out to accomplish. Given the remoteness of our location it was simplyunbelievable how seamless they made all of the project flow… although
logistically behind the scenes I’m certain it was extremely difficult... BUT weNEVER saw or felt that.GVI- What do you feel you gained from going away with GVI?Walter- I took away with me some very important life lessons that I am workingto implement into my life back in the states:1.I learned what a true sense of community is from the people of Mahandakini. They were mostly unemployed, farmed their land to put ameal on their table and gave to their neighbors what they had left over.It was overwhelming at times how they gave w/out asking anything inreturn. They were happy people… I never saw a man, woman or childupset or without a smile on their face… or offering a heartfelt greeting tous as visitors that had sooo much when they had so little.2.Finally… and most importantly… How such a subtle construction projectlike building a workshop for the Mahandakini community members tomake, store and inventory the handicrafts they sell as a means to getaway from poaching wildlife can have an
impact on theirproductivity and livelihood, but also sets them up to benefit in the futureGVI- Is there a particular memory or interesting story you can tell us?Walter- A huge lesson was to value the people around you…not the things youhave!! If any of you have ever seen the movie 'Fight Club’… there is a line in themovie that sums up what I mean… ”Sometimes the Things We Own End UpOwning Us”… so true. That is where true happiness is derived from. Forexample… I did not have my big rucksack for 7 of the 10 days on construction,but that may have been the single best thing to happen to me. I learned howsimple life really is and what we truly need to be productive and happy!! I didn’tmiss my extra shirts or shorts… in fact it was much nicer living out of 1 baginstead of 2. Life is simple… it is only our pursuit of extraneous ‘WANTS’ not‘NEEDS’ that tend to make it complicated!!GVI- Has going away with GVI changed your life in any particular way? (eg: didyou find love, decide to change your career? etc)
Walter- While I did not find love on this trip I saw and felt what love should belike. Not just a romantic love, but love for other people in general. Selfless andhumble.GVI– Why would you recommend GVI to your friends?Walter- Because you can choose how you want your GVI experience to be. Youcan choose to combine holiday with volunteering or straight volunteering. Anyway you slice it up… your GVI experience will thrust you into action that not onlyhelp the cause you choose, but will assuredly help you gain something as aperson. GVI is well organized and filled with some of the friendliest, mostpassionate people I have ever encountered.GVI- Feel free to tell us any other interesting stories/facts/jokes/memories fromyour trip or GVI in general!Walter- I will never forget the people I met along the way. We were lucky tohave the group that we did. We all got along so great and all seemed to play adifferent role on the team. We had story-tellers, jokesters, motivators, leadersand really just a good solid group of people. The Mahandakini Sweet Six willalways be a special group for me to be a part of!!
About Global Vision International (GVI)
GVI is an internationally based volunteer abroad organisation which offersvolunteer programs in Africa, South America, Asia, Europe and Latin America.Formed in 1998, GVI provides support and services to international charities,non-profits and governmental agencies through volunteering opportunities anddirect funding, filling a critical void in the fields of environmental research,conservation, education and community development. Various types of overseasvolunteer work are offered including volunteer holidays, gap year volunteering,short term volunteering, long term volunteering, volunteer internships, internabroad programs, student volunteer abroad programs and employeevolunteering trips abroad. Available subjects include marine biology,environmental research, teaching and scuba diving courses in various locationsaround the world.

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