Come and join the Bridge2Aid “gang”

Posted in: Blog, by Bridge2Aid Team, on 9th July 2018 | 0 comments

There’s a proverb attributed to ‘Africa’ which I’d like to use. I normally wouldn’t, given that these “African proverbs” are usually anything but. However, this one has just been quoted in an advert by an African airline we use to fly into Mwanza, so I’ll risk it just this once: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

As human beings, we tend to be at our best within relationships; at work and socially. We may crave those moments of alone-time, but it is generally when we are with others that the ideas spark, that the creative juices flow, that the most fun is had! We are more likely to find success and overcome obstacles working with/within a team, and more likely to enjoy our nights out as part of a group.

Another quote, this time one I definitely can trust as it was part of the feedback from a recent Bridge2Aid volunteer; someone who has recently returned from a training trip

“I feel that I have made a difference within a community, I have met a lovely group of people; some I consider as good friends now! I have seen and learnt teamwork at its finest. Through having to deal with difficulties along the way, I saw the team being resilient and supportive”

One of the important features of our work and our programmes is something which tends to get overlooked as we study and share the impressive statistics of people who will now have access to dental care, or the uplifting stories about those being released from a lifetime of pain. And that something is the relationships that are formed and built through our work. Something we can’t measure but know is real and very evident.

Emma, who works in the Gloucestershire office, recently returned from a trip, her first, to see for herself how the programmes in Tanzania run. She returned having had an “amazing” trip – she said that seeing the Clinical Officers being trained was fabulous, but what made it such an amazing experience was the relationships she made along the way. Relationships with the Tanzanian team, with the volunteers, with the Clinical Officers.

The volunteers’ journey is packed-full of relationships, existing and new. As soon as they start the process of becoming a Bridge2Aid volunteer, they create a relationship with the team here in the UK, then they meet like-minded volunteers on the training day. Eventually, they will first travel together, and then share this life-changing experience with a new group of people. During the trip they will work closely with the staff team in Tanzania, then once back in the UK they will keep in touch with their new friends. Friends they have spent only two weeks together with, but friends with whom they have established strong bonds. And then they often return to experience it all over again, with some of their fellow returnees, and to build some new relationships.

That’s what makes B2A special. We are not a one-off, single-hit organisation, but deliver sustainable, long-term solutions. That durable approach applies both to those we train and continue to work with, and to those who volunteer to take part. It’s why people come back on the Programmes time and time again; it’s all about relationships.

Our supporters usually come on board after meeting the team personally, and that’s been the way ever since Ian and Andie Wilson founded B2A, based on people they knew and the skills and support they would share. I myself became involved with the organisation on a full-time basis in 2011. I already had a relationship with B2A due to fundraising activities by our own practice, and by going on Programmes. I was on a DVP trip, and went to Mark and Jo Topley’s house in Mwanza. Having a chat over a glass of wine, I discovered there was a chance to be part of the “gang” and jumped at it.

We couldn’t do what we do without the B2A extended family of staff teams, fundraisers, ambassadors, advisors and volunteers. But there is room for plenty more and we need and welcome new people all the time.

Are you ready to be part of the solution and join the gang – we’d love to have you

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