Friday, November 12, 2010

One for the Lads

This is a story I wrote today about our dear friend Andy. Its up on the Watoto website but I wanted to share it with our male viewers... :)

One for the lads

If the only thing in Watoto’s vision statement (“Rescue a child, Raise a leader, Rebuild a nation”) that stands out to you is the word ‘build’ –this is the story for you.

Meet Andy, one of our newest volunteer recruits. True to the nature of his hometown in the deep south of Gore in New Zealand; Andy is a laid back yet hardworking, salt of the earth kind of man. He didn’t come here to hug babies – though they are adorable. He came here to get his hands dirty in a different sort of area, the Fabrications and Production Unit in Watoto’s Suubi Village.

Arriving just six weeks ago Andy has quickly become a mainstay in his new department with his 9 years worth of experience in production and joinery manufacturing the perfect fit. An average day will see him overseeing a team of 15 young Ugandan workers who are learning the art of joinery and carpentry under Andy’s direction.

Commenting on his newfound role Andy says; “The production and fabrication unit at Suubi Village is responsible for ensuring that whatever Watoto requires for the village homes, babies homes and schools – can be designed and built in house. I am involved with making that happen. That usually involves teaching our team how to machine timber, construct joinery fittings, build couches, tables and cabinets and ensure our stringent safety standards are met.”

It is also part of Andy’s role to ensure that the way items and products are made, are being done in the most timely and economically efficient way possible. Often times this means teaching his team a faster way to accomplish a task, or suggesting a new way of structuring an item to make it work better or be sturdier. Whether it’s installing a cabinet in the Physics Labraroatory at Hope High School, delivering a handmade baby’s crib to the babies home or constructing a table and chairs for a new teachers home– Andy uses every second of his 8am -5pm job wisely.

Making friends with the locals he works with comes easily to Andy and their respect and care for him is obvious; “When I first arrived here one would be correct in diagnosing a young 28 year old with a healthy dose of culture shock. Six weeks on, I have well and truly settled and even though I originally came here to look out for them, I’m so grateful they actually look out for me”.

We are so grateful for the volunteers that travel from all corners of the globe to get to us. Their support and skills are invaluable to the ongoing success of what we do here. Andy is an excellent example of someone who wanted to get involved with Watoto and has been able to use his gifts and talents in an area that works both for us and him! If you are interested in volunteering your time and talent with Watoto in 2011 we’d love to hear from you on .

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