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Stories from the field

A lifetime experience

GVC - Gruppo di Volontariato Civile

For some it can be weird to leave your home, your country or even your family and friends in order to work abroad. For me it was a professional and important project. That’s the reason why I was truly happy to come to Benin and to work with project monitoring and evaluation: finally I would be able to develop my skills and gather an experience capable to open some professional doors in the development field!

However, just some hours after getting out of the airplane we start wondering if we did the correct choice. We realise fast that we have to recalculate our way of working, of understanding life, timing and priorities. In addition, when you are in Benin you have to add a good dose of crazy traffic, humidity and heat. And then, in the middle of this adaptation and doubting, you realise that you have a lot of work to do, but most specially, you have to learn your new role and to learn how to be a part of this new team. We ask ourselves a hundred times if we could be useful. So yes, the first weeks (or months) can be pretty confusing.

But without realising it, this new universe becomes yours. That’s how I started understanding my importance within our projects, and started loving the Beninese way of life (most of the time - I don’t think I will be ever used to the heat). It is not just the technical competencies and the experience that I was able to develop, there is a lot more behind. There is the teamwork, the laugh, the sun, the music, the confusion that in the end always make things work in their own pace.

I am really proud of what I have accomplished in this 8 months of mission. I am proud of the friends that I have made, of the improvements that I was able to develop in my organisation, I am proud of my adaptation capacity and engagement. Most of all, I am proud that I had this opportunity, being trained and transformed into a professional who is better prepared to enter the development and humanitarian world. So thanks a lot WeWorld and the EUAV programme! This is an experience of a lifetime.