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Volunteers Fresh From Brazil

Thanks to volunteers Eloise and Brita for sharing their experiences volunteering in Brazil with IVHQ in 2012.

"An incredibly positive and fulfilling experience"
Eloise Molan (Australia) – Community Development, 5 weeks

IVHQ volunteers in BrazilVolunteering in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was an incredibly positive and fulfilling experience. The city is like no other: spectacular in natural beauty, diverse, full of so much life, energy and culture; always exciting and at times chaotic! 

I was involved in a variety of different activities during my placement, including a community garden and recycling project, childcare and teaching English. It was enriching to be making a small yet practical and positive contribution to the community.

It is unique to be afforded such an opportunity to live and be immersed in the daily life and culture of another country, to meet and get to know and work with local people as well as to bond with fellow volunteers from across the globe. Experiencing the scale of poverty and disadvantage in such a wealthy country left me awestruck and admiring at the effort the local NGO puts into improving people’s lives. I was also delighted by how open, welcoming and friendly people were in the communities as well as generous with hospitality and full of pride for their community.
 
I was fortunate enough to also experience the quintessence of Brazilian culture: Carnaval. It was incredible to see the city in all its glory, where everyone comes together in crazy, joyful and colourful revelry. I thank the local staff for the passion and dedication they have for improving the lives of the people in the communities of Rio de Janeiro. A big thank you to IVHQ for all the hard work they do to make it easier for us to access such a fantastic volunteer placement. I am definitely keen to return next year to pursue a longer project.
 
"Each day I would feel such a sense of accomplishment"
Brita Ulf (USA) – Building Homes in a Favela, 16 weeks

IVHQ volunteers working in BrazilI came to Brazil open to a new culture, language, and whatever experiences would come my way. Every day at my project I experience such a rush of emotions and new learning.

As we work at the same construction site every day, the other volunteers and I have developed relationships with the builders, neighbours, and shopkeepers in the community. When I arrive each morning the generosity and good-natured manner of the locals in our community is contagious. It affects the way we feel and encourages me to put nothing less than my best effort into the work that we do – because these wonderful people deserve to receive the most that I can give them. Seeing the completion of the first of nine houses in the project has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

I enjoyed the work so much because each day I would feel such a sense of accomplishment as we created a new wall, turned on the lights for the first time, or painted the outside of the house bright blue. Dona Marcia, the recipient of the first house, was often working beside us and her appreciation was endless. I was so happy to see the conclusion of such a tangible project that would make a great difference in someone else’s life, and am very much looking forward to beginning construction on the second house this week!

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