For the last six months Stacey Addison has interned for The Happy Africa Foundation (THAF) in partnership with African Impact in St. Lucia. Her time has now come to an end in St. Lucia and she has done an amazing job. Take a look at her final blog for THAF.
When I first arrived as a volunteer in May I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was hoping that this trip would help me figure out the next step I needed to take. Those three weeks of volunteering taught me so much about myself and a new culture and it’s fair to say that I realised then that I couldn't go back home to a ‘normal’ life.
|Stacey and a young learner at reading club|
I knew that if I didn't make that decision quickly I would go home and get stuck back in the rut that I had been in for the last few months, so it was time to call the parents and explain that I had seen an advert for an internship with The Happy Africa Foundation in St Lucia.
The rest is history, within hours of arriving back in the UK I had been offered the internship for 6 months and by the end of that week I had signed my contract, handed my notice in at work and booked my flights back.
A quick decision but the right one, I wanted to do more for the communities I had worked in for the last 3 weeks and get amazing work experience in fundraising and events coordinating and where else better to do it but the beautiful settings of St Lucia, South Africa.
After meeting Monique at Durban airport I was so excited to see everyone and get straight into the internship. Driving past Khula Village and back over the bridge into St Lucia I felt like I was back home, which may seem crazy considering I had only been here for 3 weeks previously but this place quickly takes its hold.
|Helping at the first local Hippo Fest was a highlight for THAF|
Writing this now I can’t quite believe that I am in my last week as the intern, which has been the best 6 months of my life.
I have been lucky enough to have met some incredible people who have inspired me with their strength and community spirit.
Some of these people which have very little and have lost many loved ones young and old, yet their smiles are still beautiful and captivating.
Some facts about what I have achieved during my time here as the St Lucia Intern. I have raised the following through fundraising events and very kind donations from volunteers through campaigns and talks during their time with African Impact:
Medical Projects: R15,329.57
10 Families Programme: R6,393.75
Inkanyezi Crèche Redevelopment Programme: R57,626.87
THAF Merchandise: R4440
Emergency Funding for House Repairs: R8640.70
TOTAL (exc Merchandise): R87,990.89 (£5136.38)
The day I stepped into my manager’s office I knew I had made the right decision to leave my friends and family behind to pursue work experience with The Happy Africa Foundation and I have never once regretted flying over 8000km away from home to follow this dream.
For everyone that thought I was crazy to give up everything in the UK, well I proved you wrong and I couldn't be more proud of my achievements here. I never imagined that I would be able to raise so much money for such an amazing charity and that means so much.
|Stacey and a little one enjoying her last week as a THAF Intern|
The last 6 months in St Lucia, have been incredibly inspiring and I have grown to call this place my home from home.
Meeting so many new people, making new friends and learning so much about a new career path and myself, none of that would have happened if I hadn't to the leap and left the UK.
Thank You for everything St Lucia!
“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” - Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
If interning for THAF interests you then please visit their website to find out more.