Name: Celine Kerslake-Sim Where are you from? Surrey
Position: Project Coordinator Duration: 2.5 months out of 12 (did 6 before as TCPC)
Interesting fact about yourself? I am an extremely non-identical twin! My curly dark brown haired, green eyed brother works hard running business workshops based out of a London office – a rather different environment!
What were you doing before you came to Madagascar? What was your job/occupation? Before Madagascar (the first time) I was in Zimbabwe for three months, volunteering doing HIV and AIDs education. I lived with a local family and worked alongside Zimbabwean volunteers to bring health messages to the local community.
Why did you choose Madagascar? The main reason that I chose to come to Madagascar with Frontier was to challenge my waning French skills! Other than that, I thought it sounded really cool that there are three main project focuses based out of roughly one location, so that you get a great mix of opportunities and people to hang out with!
Why are you here? What is your aim? What are you hoping to achieve? I was first here purely with a community motivation, and primarily focussed on the existing English-teaching and sports coaching. As I’ve been here for longer, I’ve started to see where the needs really lie within the community and how I can develop our projects and create new projects to meet those. I want to try to open up opportunities for the young people of nosy be and help to increase the number of young people able to realise their potential.
Your favourite moment here/most memorable moment? Best memory? Best story/day? There’s no one overriding good memory; my whole time has been an up and down road with many highs along the route. My favourite memories from my time here so far are of when volunteers and I have worked together and successfully overcome barriers. I remember colouring in hundreds of sets of clothing on exam papers for the local primary school with a volunteer, overcoming the fact that we had only black and white printing. I also love any day where I’ve got to the end of a lesson and felt like the students really enjoyed it and really learnt from it – blindfolding the students and getting them to direct each other round a maze of string was a highlight from that perspective.
Any scary/crazy experiences? What got your heart racing? One experience that got my stomach churning, if not my heart racing, was when on a particularly wavy day on a particularly small boat our engine decided to cut out half way around the coast to camp. After an hour of bobbing and getting slowly greener, I couldn’t have been more appreciative of the sound of an engine coming back to life!
If you could have three things from home, what would they be? What do you miss? If I could have three things from home I would have:
- 3G internet (no I haven’t adjusted to a semi-unconnected life)
- an ice machine (underappreciated and somewhat unnecessary in England) and
- an oven (baked things!).
If you could take 3 things from Madagascar back home with you, what would they be? I would take:
- all of my students and their smiling faces (or maybe more realistically a photo album of it all) so that I never forget it
- freshly cooked spicy fish, coconut rice and anchari (salad) street food and
- a lamba (sarong) to remember something of the local culture – not to be worn as a sarong, of course.. more likely as a scarf!
Best wildlife experience? I loved seeing baby lemurs clutching on to their mother’s bellies while hanging upside down. In December the forest was full of cute little newbies!
What will you take away with you? What have you learnt? I’m not sure if the other staff members agree, but I would say that the Madagascar mora mora (slowly slowly) approach has rubbed off on me at least a bit – I’ve learnt to relax and appreciate every small achievement for what it is!
Describe your time here in one word (got to have a bit of cheese) Developmental..!
By Amy Wright – Madagascar Field Communications Officer
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