My time volunteering
After working as a high school teacher in Eritrea for a year I continued my placement in teacher training.
The impact of my placement
All my students that I taught in my first year passed the national exam. I also built a library with books supplied by contacts in the UK. Beyond my first year I trained teachers in 19 schools and also built a resources centre. During the second year I worked in Eritrea I met and married a local girl - Rebka.
My unforgettable moments
In February 2006 4 buses pulled up outside the school and a dozen soldiers armed with Kalashnikovs came into the classrooms. Tension was rising on the border with Ethiopia and the government needed more soldiers so children were taken out of the classrooms and herded onto the buses. This was an example of the indefinite conscription in Eritrea.
The impact my placement has had on me
After my VSO placement Rebka and I settled in Ethiopia. (Rebka is Ethiopian and was trapped in Eritrea when the two countries went to war in 1998.) The Red Cross helped us get out of Eritrea and in 2012 we had a baby. With the help of my Ethiopian in-laws I founded a children's home in Ethiopia. We now care for 33 children in Addis Ababa. We are a registered charity in England and Wales (No. 1175880) and 100% of donations go to the children's upkeep and education. I have written a book about the experience, available on Amazon it is called 'Inside Eritrea- A Volunteer in East Africa.' All proceeds to the children.