Volunteer Activities in Orange

Trip Start May 18, 2004
Trip End Jul 08, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 1: 
I was a bit excited on the first day, because I like new experiences and I had never experienced a volunteer job overseas. The workplace was HACC (Home And Community Care), which provides some different services for senior citizens and people with disabilities. So I also experienced a few different jobs. The first job was joining a painting club at Senior Citizens Centre, next building to Orange City Council. I was just told to paint with some Altzheimer's participants. Because I did not feel that it was like a job, I thought about its meaning as a job, or what I should focus on in the club activity. Then I supposed the main point should be to have fun with them. In other words, I had to enjoy painting with them, so that I could create a relaxed air. My painting was terrible, but it didn't matter. In the afternoon, I enjoyed playing Wii, a video game played with whole body , with the same participants. I supported and encouraged them to play the game. Although it took a long time to set up the console, because they looked happy in playing the game, I believe I successfully supported them. The last job was visiting a nursing-care home. Because I used to work for a nursing-care home in Japan, I was interested in Australian nursing-care homes. Although I just spoke a little to a few occupants, the visit itself was meaningful to me in terms of knowing a nursing-home, but I was not sure if my visit was meaningful to occupants. I just hoped the occupants enjoyed the talk with me.

Day 2: 
I worked in the City Council on the day. First, I attended a meeting of migrant services. In the meeting, I just asked a few questions, because I did not have enough knowledge about migrant issues. On the other hand, because the other participants meticulously answered my questions, I was very glad. In the meeting, I found an Sudanese refugee and I was interested in his history until he became a permanent resident. Luckily, I had a chance to talk with him later. In the afternoon, I attended Drug Action Week Campaign in Robertson Park. I was kindly introduced to some different organisations staffs by my placement coordinator. Although I was happy with some freebies and free BBQ, because it was not like a job, I wondered if the experience was acceptable as a volunteer job.  The last job of the day was setting up a venue for Food Bank meeting and attending the meeting. When I carried food, vacuumed the floor of the hall and arranged chairs, I felt it was meaningful for me to be there. The placement of the day finished later than usual, but I was satisfied with the work experience.  

Day 3:
The workplace on the third day was Orange City Library. I go to the library as a user once in a while and so I was interested in their job. In the morning, after a backstage tour, I attended a meeting and was introduced to the staff. At the end of the meeting, we filled in a large questionnaire sheet to share information about our reading habits. Some questions were a bit difficult for me, because I don't read books so often except textbooks. After that, I worked on the second floor as an assistant of a librarian sorting out books returned to the library. Strange as it may sound, it was like the first real job I experienced during the placement. I made a mistake and that is, I forwarded some returned DVDs to the shelving staff without wanding them. It was caused by my carelessness in checking procedure and must have been a trouble to the librarian, but she kindly dealt with my mistake. I was really not sure if I could help her, but she thanked me at the end of the day and said she would welcome me as a volunteer again. I deeply appreciated her offer, but I had to decline because of the already arranged placement schedule.  

Day 4:
I did not work much on the 4th day, either. The workplace was Orange Ex-Service Club, where a youth workers seminar was held. I took pictures in the seminar and set up an exercise mat on the floor for sumo wrestling. Other than that, I just enjoyed the event just like participants. I had much sandwich, cake, fruit and coffee, got a massage, enjoyed a comedy talk by Ahn Do (a Vietnamese refugee), and learned self-defence technique from High Impact (martial art school) and stress-relieving techniques from Psychological Solutions. All the activities were interesting and beneficial to me, but on the other hand, I wondered if I had a skill or knowledge to teach to young people. Anyway, I was looking for my job in the venue all the time, because I went there to work.

Day 5:
Because it was raining in the morning, I took a taxi to the City Council, but it was not raining in the town. The 5th day was the busiest during the placement period. I worked almost 10 hours. In the morning, I set up sewing machines and tables for a sewing circle activity in Senior Citizens Centre. Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn't need to join them. In the second half of the morning, I just talked with a Nepalease cook Predip from Hogs Cafe. After two-hour break in the afternoon, I helped City Council staff prepare for the Refugee Week Activity. It was a hard work and they appreciated my help. Although I had been there to work from the begging, I was happy when I was thanked. However, I was very tired from the job, I fell into sleep in the middle of the event. There were about 50 refugees coming to the event including Predip's wife and daughter. The event featured a puppet show ad refugee representative's speech (by Deng). Then we enjoyed heaps of food. It was fun, but I felt quite tired when I got back home at 10 pm, so that I went to bed immediately.
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