I’m Pavel Redkin, 53, a retired teacher and self-employed ESL tutor from Russia. I was 39 and had been working at school for 22 years as a teacher including international AFS student exchange programmes. I was always hardworking and quite busy when one day I realized that daily routine had made me bored.
I was looking for something really new and exciting in my life, I wanted just to travel, see the world and do something helpful for people around. That is why I joined CICD and enrolled for Development Instructor team in 2008.
Everything was very new for me – younger team-mates and strange teachers who didn’t look really academic because they usually cooked and cleaned, just like us. I lived in Malawi building, we had GAIA Course about ecology and environment and DI Course about life in emerging economic systems which helped us to get prepared for our 6-month projects in South Africa and India. We also did clothes and shoes collection, published and sold magazines ( periodicals) to raise money for our living, education and skills we needed for the project. I also had my responsibility area (all students had one) that was a store room for books and toys that we always donated for charity organizations, presented to our guests or sold out at “small shops” to raise more money. It was fun!
I also remember two groups of Danish students who came to visit our school for a while. I was responsible for their hosting programme – accommodation, English lessons, trips and visiting English families. It was fun to manage the activities for them and a good chance to see Hull, York, Wakefield Coal Mining Museum and a lot of local sights. When they left they were crying, so it was a beautiful job!
My team-mates were from different countries – Italy, Hungary, Japan, Poland, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. We were very good friends and enjoyed staying together. I helped them to learn better English at English lessons or karaoke parties that we had sometimes at weekends. We went to Norway for a Development Conference where I met a lot of people from the other European DRH schools. When we came back we shared lots of pictures and videos, supported each other, and step by step our true great friendship grew up. More than 10 years passed after we finished our programme but we are still together in this troubling world. We keep in touch online, share our lives and achievements and still have fun!
My project was TCE (Total Control of the Epidemic) for HIV/AIDS prevention in South Africa where I spent almost 6 months from March to August in 2009. My general task as a DI (Development Instructor) was to work in TCE Special Force position. I had to mobilise, train, lead, co-operate, monitor, plan, make follow-ups and organise local Field Officers on many levels. We went door-to-door in Soweto and visited local families telling them about HIV/AIDS prevention, conducted workshops and formed Youth clubs. A lot of work even for Superman – but after CICD trainings we all were really Super-people! It was really interesting and exciting time there. No minute to be bored! I really enjoyed what I did there because I saw how local people appreciated everything and shared their best with us, international volunteers.
I was also able to travel sometimes. I never forget how beautiful South Africa is with its National Kruger Park full of exotic animals, mountains, oceans, valleys, grape fields – everything is still in my memories, pictures and videos that I took there. It was my great chance to combine work and pleasure, and I used it in full!
To sum up, I’m happy that I spent 16 months of my life with CICD. Thank you very much, our old school, for your hospitality, teachers, true friends and best moments in my life! I will never forget them! Thank you for all the positive and helpful changes in my personality as well! Now I can do everything - I can climb mountains, do almost every kind of hard work, entertain myself and enjoy life. If I get any challenges (problems don’t exist after the CICD course!) I never give up! You are still in my heart and still a part of my life. And I sincerely hope to visit you again one day soon.