When asked about our intentions all of our interviewees were quick to reply that they thought we had good intentions. After spending some time at out placements the people we work with have observed our work and concluded that we intend to make a positive difference. As Sarah’s interviewee Lida pointed out, a volunteer with bad intentions not only makes the NGO look bad, but is also a wasting everyone’s time.
All of our interviewees also commented on the importance of relationships formed during our time here. As Emmanuel (Carly’s interviewee) put it, the relationships that Carly makes at Mvunno mean more than learning how to construct a water tank. Isabel’s interviewee Paulo, said that the interactions and relationships she forms with teachers and students is the most valuable part of her service. Lida told Sarah that the relationship she has formed with Womeda are valuable because she can now take what she has learned about the mission and vision of Womeda back to America.
Like our intentions, all of our interviewees thought we would have positive impacts. Paulo told Isabel that since she is so involved with APROFI, he thinks she will be remembered once she leaves, and will have a positive impact on both the kids and the teachers. Emmanuel told Carly that her biggest impact is on the families she is building tanks for and the relationships she will form with them. Lida has already taken note of some of Sarah’s impacts on Womeda. For example, Sarah has created a facebook page for Womeda as well as conducted research.
Although we all knew our own intentions since the beginning, it was refreshing to hear that the people we are working with think we have positive intentions. However, because they are so sure we have positive intentions and will have a positive impact, we realize that it is our responsibility to ensure that this happens. We all hope to leave footprints for future volunteers that encase helpful service, good intentions and lasting relationships.