First I need to admit that being in Denmark wasn’t fun at all. I didn’t get any relevant knowledge for Africa that I couldn’t get in one week with professionals and that was most efficient with the travel guide (there is everything necessary about all issues that we faced in Mozambique). Yes, except Portuguese that everybody said it’s important, but there were no conditions to study Portuguese. It was most inefficient program that I faced and I have right to say that as I’m involved in creating training programs for police officers at my work place and even in finding people for missions in developing countries. All these discussions about development and climate changes, tasks “what is poverty” probably more suitable for school children: it is highly basic level and irrelevant for Africa in any circumstances.
Job in Denmark to pay our “studies” (still I can’t understand, why I needed to do that in Denmark, because such “studies” I could do in Lithuania in my free time, just having more free time after that and more fun) was very inefficient as well. We should work with difficult teenagers, but basic information about them we got only in the end of being in Denmark (by that time I didn’t work with them at all) and it was kind of naïve psychology, that wasn’t suitable at all. At the beginning we were told, that we are going to do social work, but after explanation that social work is in the kitchen as well I started to doubt that somebody from Humana understands what is social work at all. Really I think that these teenagers could get more attention and more help than I faced. From my point of view social business should be responsible business at first.
Another thing, which I faced in Denmark, was double standards everywhere. We were told “speak about your problems”, but the only answer we got, when we did that was “change your attitude”. Probably the best example was Rosio. Of course in such conditions it was difficult to solve any problems I faced and it was really funny to hear from headmaster of Bogense, that if in Africa we will face problems we need to speak about that, because it was most useless thing I did in Denmark. And of course other double standards, for example, we had trainings about corruption, but after we returned to school (Bogense Friskole) and heard from Bente Hansen, the leader of the school, that we will work illegally, because school doesn’t want to pay taxes. So of course such trainings you can take only with a smile.
So what went wrong in Africa? Probably it could be good illustration the phrase, which we heard at the beginning “you arrived so suddenly” (three months is very short time to prepare at least something).
There was nothing that we would be able to do in EPF. Just everybody thought how to keep us busy (yes, it was good preparation in Denmark for that) instead of letting us to do something efficient. For example, when I asked why I need to go to some village, I heard the only reason “we thought that you don’t have what to do”. Very efficient time spending, isn’t it? We’ve got some funny jobs that actually not related with development at all like cutting edges of paper.
I tried to organize some things to do, but I didn’t succeed. Actually I think if I was stranger, not connected with Humana I could do things with the same success or even better . For example, I prepared course about beating children in school that I faced in Mozambique, but I couldn’t succeed to give that course, because nobody was interested in that. I think it would be development at least to try to change this.
When I told about my problems when organizing course (and everything else) to project leader I’ve got answer “try to become friends with teachers, maybe they will let you do that”, but still I came to Africa to do development and not to make friends, at least I used to make friends with people with whom I want to do that (yes, now I have some friends in Mozambique, not from Humana People to People). I still wonder what kind of development Humana (Tvind cult’s Humana is named ADPP in Mozambique) is doing in Mozambique, because for me it’s more talking about development, but not people who could be really interested in development.
Another line of Humana is not to use professional work in any conditions. That I faced in the last meeting (in Denmark), when I suggested that good solution for alcoholism problems is anonymous alcoholics clubs, that is the most efficient way known in the world to solve these problems (75 percent of successful not drinking), but I got explanation that the best way is to make campaign about that (probably 0-10 percent, this is never mentioned in professional literature).
Of course one of the main lines of Humana is that if there are some problems, people should change their attitudes, not solve problems, so in Africa I felt I really need to change my attitude and instead of doing something and try to explain things I need to quit organization.
I still feel I could have had some influence there by traveling and spending money, by teaching English, by breaking stereotypes about white people, but all this is no way related with your organization.
And I feel very sad, that people from this organization forget that volunteers had a lot of motivation to help Africa, but they are not slaves or soldiers; that nobody knows, what does it mean human resources management and humanism in general. Of course if we would count that still a lot of people want to join organization and financially it’s good for organizations (having in mind salaries in Denmark and Great Britain and organization getting money of these people and free work) despite volunteers are quitting, who cares about such things?