Hannah Lederer: Travel Award Report
The Withington Onwards Travel Award was started in 2000 by the Senior Club (now Withington Onwards). It helps current pupils and recent leavers towards the cost of their gap-year travel plans, allowing them to experience new cultures and complete voluntary activities before commencing higher education. Over the years, previous winners of the award have worked on numerous charitable projects in locations such as Ghana, Fiji, Peru, Israel and Kenya.
We ask all of our awardees to send us updates on how their trip is progressing and Hannah Lederer, a Class of 2015 leaver currently on a twelve month placement in Guyana with Project Trust, has sent us the following report…
As I find myself already into November, it amazes me how fast the first two months of this year have gone. It is crazy to think I’ve only been here in Guyana for two months, yet also crazy to think about how fast that time has gone. I am most definitely having a great time!
I am living in a small village called Shulinab, which is about an hour away from the main town. It is beautiful here- we have mountains to our north and the Rupununi Savannah to the south. I live with my volunteer partner, Becca, in a small house within the school compound where we work. Although it is a primary school, we teach the older students who cannot get to one of the secondary schools in the area for various reasons. Teaching was hard at first, but now both Becca and I enjoy it immensely and have grown very fond of our pupils. A particularly noticeable thing about Shulinab is the prevalence of the community here. Being a small village, everyone knows everyone, and all the locals are ever so friendly and hospitable, so we felt welcomed right from the first day we arrived.
In our spare time when we aren’t teaching, working or doing household chores (hand washing clothes takes time), we enjoy ourselves ‘liming’ (chilling) and ‘gaffing’ (chatting) with our friends in the village. At weekends we’ve been on trips to visit the other volunteers and to stay at people’s houses further into the savannah, as well as occasional trips to the town where we can get internet and chocolate! We have also been busy being involved in lots of athletics this term and went with the children to a nearby village for the annual interschool championships, which was lots of fun. Our school, Macushi Primary, came 2nd place.
Communication here is limited. We have a village phone but no mobile signal or internet, so I rely on letters which unfortunately are not all that reliable! I hope everyone back home is well and enjoying their new lives after finishing school. To be able to have my year out, I had to raise a lot of funds, and I am very thankful for the generosity of the Withington Onwards Travel Award, which made a considerable difference to my fundraising total near to the end of the year when I needed it most! I managed to finish my fundraising just in time, and would like to say thank you to everyone who helped!
Life in the Rupununi is certainly treating us well, I love how everything is so relaxed and laid back here. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings!