Daniel Wood, lives and works in Norwich as a web developer for a special effects software company, but during May he became a construction worker in Madagascar and, after a life changing experience, is hoping to encourage others to follow suit and discover more about the magical island of Madagascar and its people.
Daniel is 24 and after 2 years working hard in a new job he decided that this year he wanted to do something a little bit different during his time off. So instead of booking a relaxing holiday in the sun he signed up for a month working with a charity called Azafady.
The charity carry out a whole range of projects that aim to help the people, plants and animals of Madagascar and, wanting to challenge himself and try something new, Daniel signed up to help with construction work and repairs on a school, which provides education for children in a remote bush community.
The work was hard, but immensely rewarding for the International volunteers, who worked alongside locals employed by the charity. They helped build a veranda around the existing school to protect it from the elements and carried out essential repair work on the building, everything from replacing rotting wall slats and strengthening foundations to mending desks and giving the walls a fresh lick of paint.
Daniel also helped with some of the education programmes, working alongside translators to teach children about the unique importance of the animals around them and participating in a malaria education lesson.
It wasn’t all work for the team of volunteers however and Daniel also got a chance to explore the local area; which left him with some unforgettable experiences. He danced with locals, fed leumurs out of the palm of his hand, swam on isolated coral reefs and tucked into local delicacies. The one thing that struck Daniel most during his free time however was how all the people were always smiling, despite their hardships and poverty; putting into perspective that perhaps things didn’t really ever get that bad back home in Norwich and making his work on the school even more poignant.
Since returning from Madagascar a few weeks ago Daniel has decided to try and help encourage others to learn a little bit more about Madagascar, one of the poorest countries on the planet and one few know much about, and perhaps follow in his footsteps and do something life changing.
“Volunteering for Azafady was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life and I’d encourage everyone to have a look at what the charity’s all about. Volunteering for them isn’t just about doing something to help others, it’s an adventure and an experience you’ll never forget.”