Volunteer's testament about the importance of educationWritten by JICA
I work for Japan international Cooperation Agency (JICA) as a youth activity volunteer. I came to Tanzania on July 2013 and I completed my 2 years contract of service term but I decided to extend it for 9 months so I am still here in Tanzania now.
I am working as a District Secondary Health Education Officer in Mkuranga District. So my work is to teach about various health topics for secondary schools’ students with teachers, to introduce and support to continue sustainable school lunch system, to set school health room at every school and to introduce the importance and function so as to manage school health effectively by their selves.
Before coming to Tanzania, I was working as a nurse at adolescent ward in children’s hospital and also as health teacher at school. I had already known about the importance of school health activities and the preventive education so that students can spend their life without diseases, troubles and so on. At first I just wanted to introduce the system of school health but it was difficult to get understanding and cooperating because of the different environment or the lack of facilities, tools and so on. I gradually understood that the priority is quietly different between my country and Tanzania and it is concerned in the difference of culture. It is not adequate to enforce our knowledge one-sidedly. Of course if we are volunteers we wish to do everything that we can, so as to improve the environment but before doing that, we have to know the culture of the country where we are working, to talk a lot with people, to establish good relationship between the people. To stand the same position with the local people, think together and cooperate when we are working. Iam convinced that if we can abide these aspects, it will lead into good work and we ourselves can enjoy our activities.
Before volunteering, I was thinking that I want to help people by using my knowledge so that they can live healthy. But after starting my work, I realized that my knowledge and ability are only little things. Because before doing activities so as to help the local people, I was also helped by a lot of people and I learned a lot of things from them. Their warm hearts always helped me when I was in hard situation. I am Japanese and now working with Tanzanian people but if we can help each other for example when we encounter difficult problems, through discussing we can get new opinions or we can compensate the short comings of each other. So this act (to help each other) is very important and one of the thing which I always think. Do not be enthusiastic in helping people just because we are living in developing country ,the important thing is to think what I can do with the local people.
As I already mentioned, after noticed the importance of making good relationship between local people, I just tried to introduce my activities ,for example to village office, school, health center and so on,
A lot of people are desired to know the importance of it and to cooperate with. Now fortunately, people have already known my activity, and they ask me “When will you go to school to teach?” “I want to go with you to teach about health” “Do you teach students only? Can you have time to teach for village people?” and so on. Health is important but in here, preventive education is not enough. People cannot get enough chance to know their health. The cost of receiving treatment is bigger than to prevent, but most of the people haven’t noticed this aspect. So I think it is a positive impact that people can ask me to coordinate the chance of enough health education.
Now I am finishing my work in Tanzania. I sincerely can say that this volunteering chance has impacted a lot in my future plans. Before coming to Tanzania I imagined my future plan that after finishing my contract, I will go back to my work as a school health teacher in Japan. But now I really wish to work again in developing countries. Because I have already known the joy and reward of working in the developing country. To start from completely different situation is of course not easy. But in this process which we just cooperate each other to make better things, we can notice and know a lot of new things. Through this process we can establish ourselves much better as a human being. I just want to say that because we are human being sometimes we feel sad, we feel like running away from hard situation. But it is natural it is not a shameful thing. There is no problem to cry. But it is clear that if we can overcome, we can see the new perspective and can get completely another view. We are not alone if we are not in our home country there are people who are concerned about us. If we have such person even one we can say thank you and can feel the hard work. Keep positive thinking and always smiling.
Thank you for reading.