Throughout training, we’ve pushed the volunteers to think critically about their role in their new communities. Are they here to help? Or to support? Are they here to teach? Or are they here to learn? Each community is budgeted approximately $400 which they can use to carry out a Community Based Initiative – a small project designed by the community. In the past, communities have used this money to paint a mural, to build a community stove or to construct a bus stop. Many communities, in my experience, see this money as a gift – our volunteers live with them, eat with them and learn from (them all for free) for two months and in return the community gets a project of their choosing. Some volunteers, again in my experience, see the Community Based Initiative as their responsibility – they feel that if they don’t give their community something cool then they have failed. This is not true and neither of these things is our goal in AMIGOS.
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