Pictures of me
Reactions to African Trip
6th May 2006
It is an unwritten law that when you catch up with people, you're
expected to give a 30 second speech about what you are doing with your
life. I've been catching up with a lot of people recently and my
30 second speech goes something like this:
Well, very soon I'll be spending three months
inside a Liberian refugee camp in Ghana teaching everything from verbs to
long division to how to put a condom on. Maybe some adult literary
and computer training thrown in for good measure.
I'll then be off to Uganda for six months. I'll be doing
lotsa youth mentoring (unprotected sex bad, education good),
prison visits and helping out people with AIDS.
The reactions to my 30 second speech have been quite
Here are a few interesting ones:
- Africa is full of black people right? Why would you want
to help them?
The most disappointing by far. I was shocked when I got this
It was followed up by a "I'm not a racist,
but...". If you're not a racist buddy, then you don't get
to tack a "but" onto the end of that sentence...
- Wow! That's so cool. Do you mind if I live vicariously
I've had this a couple of times. Much cooler than the one
- Are you mad?! How can that possibly be safe?
I'll talk more about the safety later. G.V.N.
takes great care in placing volunteers in safe locations. I
have no concerns about my safety.
- Cool. You're life is so interesting.
This one I do like. I know this guy who lives by himself
in a tiny apartment. He divorced from his
wife about 15 years ago. He seems like a very sad and lonely man.
Whether he knows it or not, he served as a big inspiration for me to
get out of my apartment in Sheen
Street and head off volunteering. I saw myself becoming
like him and didn't like it.
I think to do what I am doing on any sort of long term basis, you
have to at least give up security. This is what I have
done. When I return from Africa I will have no money, no job
and no assets to speak of.
You may also have to give up responsibility. Mortgages,
jobs and children in particular would prevent most people from doing
what I do.
That's great! Can I have all your babies?
Well, this one hasn't happened yet... Applicants can
contact me here.
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2005 and 2006 Malcolm Trevena.
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