On air and in flight

Written by Isabell Jacobson
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As Mel, one of the volunteers here at Voluntario Global, takes to the air tomorrow to fly home to Germany, he decides to spend his last morning at the community radio station in La Boca, Riachuelo 100.9. His university has insisted that he comes home to start studying on time and he is a little despondent that his voluntary project has been cut short. However, on arriving at the radio station for the last time, it is clear that he has not only made an impact but also  experienced a great deal in this time. 
The radio programme volunteers spend tuesday mornings preparing for the shows and this includes, of course, Con otro acento a show which connects listeners to the Voluntario Global volunteers. As Natalia, the lead producer of the shows, explains, this Wednesday evening programme has been running for over a  year and it is never short of volunteers from Voluntario Global.  And Mel's experience is exemplary, given the hugely positive feedback that he offers when interviewed about his overall time at the station. His eyes light up when he talks of the team's warmth, openness and evident spirit. He is astounded by how welcoming they have been and excitedly tells of his own contribution to the show; it is also worth noting that he arrived nervous and apprehensive but leaves decidedly more confident and at ease. It is not easy to turn up in La Boca's radio station with no prior experience, a language barrier and the absence of home. And yet it seems that Mel has gelled with the people, the work itself and speaking on radio in Spanish. The fact that he feels fully immersed in the experience is testament to the welcoming crowd at this station and their natural ability to facilitate the work of the volunteer.
Their positive approach towards the volunteers is clearly something they wish to maintain and Natalia talks openly about the importance of their presence at the station. The continuous influx of volunteers from all over the world has kept both the material and atmosphere fresh and the worldly circle is beginning to infiltrate into the listeners as they take on definitively  more outward perspectives. According to her, it is imperative that they drive forward with this project, perhaps even extending the programme to include more information about both the political and social agenda of Voluntario Global. It is, most certainly, a drive to educate all who are involved and as Mel recounts the many events and occasions that he has been a part of, it is clear that he has received a big dose. He talks of the 5km charity run through seemingly shocking areas like Villa 31 and he remembers fondly his time at the charity market in one of the 'colectividades' or social housing projects. His eyes have been well and truly opened and with greater vision, he will take his flight home with a new sense of perspective, a suitcase full of courage and an overhead locker full of brilliant memories. Mel, we shall miss you.


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Voluntario Global helps local communities by being available to discuss anything that local organizations need, and offering ideas for further change and development.


Location: General Pacheco. Buenos Aires. Argentina
Email: jfranco@voluntarioglobal.org

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