It's funny to think that about this time last year I was interviewing to travel to Mexico on an unknown volunteering expedition. Since my volunteering abroad I have started a masters and have really been in the full swing of life, that my time abroad almost feels like it didn't happen. I remember there used to be hot sunny weeks - without rain - now there are cold rainy weeks - without sun here in Ireland. As part of my programme I am required to speak about my experience of volunteering abroad and the impact it had on me, especially in line with the United Sustainable Development Goal of Good Health. That has been the really difficult part if I am to be honest. Unless you have volunteered or lived abroad for an extended period of time it is hard to express that to others. I find my self asking, what do I tell people when they say "How was your trip?" - that is for those that noticed I was not in the country lol. But it is difficult and I tell them the short hand - it was cool, it was not that dangerous and no there were no drugs (that I was aware off).
One aspect of my experience that I did find quite interesting was to be discriminated against based on my color. Many people thought I was an immigrant from Honduras. Funny, I was an immigrant from Ireland volunteering in Mexico, while in Ireland I am an immigrant from Nigeria living in Ireland and in Nigeria, well I just am Chinedum.So back to the question of what now? You tell me, who wants to hear my story, who cares and why should they? I have found it difficult to truly secure an audience. My first talk was at a church where I spoke about the Good Health, I specifically targeted the church as I knew mainly people of African descent attended it. I knew that access to healthcare for ethnic minorities is quite low due to the costs.
But I was cautious in terms of my delivery of the talk, knowing that I somewhat come from a position of power and privilege having traveled and received some training relating to Good Health. Also, I did not want to prescribe things to these people that I do not know and or assume that they do not know the importance of Good Health. For me it was important that I convey a message that the health of our community is of grave importance to ALL members of society. As we know everything has its costs’, including poor health!! Well my talk had the following impact:
I was able to empower youth in the church to consider volunteering within their respective interests.I got the congregation thinking about not only their health, but the health of their community.
I was also motivated by the receptive nature of the audience to future my talks and engagements with communities.It has a financial, social and moral cost to societies, governments and individuals. It is key that through my talks
I provide a space for people to reflect on their respective attitudes towards health and key steps to health improvements.
My next talk will be at Ballymun Comprehensive, so lets see how receptive they will be.
Name: Chinedum Muotto
Award: Gold Award