Madeleine and Synne about their year in Africa - Aid / Culture
Meet Madeleine and Synne who both go to Africa-Aid / Culture. How do they feel at school, on the line, at the boarding school - and do they learn anything?
Synne W. Rustad
Age: 19 years
Comes from: Nesodden, Viken
Age: 19 years
Comes from: Kråkstad, Viken
How did you experience the first week and the meeting with the Africa Line?
M: Wow, a little blackout I would say, says Madeleine and explains: do not understand that I could be so safe and warm so fast! After a week, I thought that now I have been here for a month and have become so fond of many.
S: And I forgot everything I had been stressed about and that others probably were too. I was pretty sure I had made the right choice right away.
How would you describe a normal day on the Africa line?
S: Walk'n'Talk - where we go for a walk and stop for necessary info breaks, about for example the study trip to Uganda. Great way not to sit drowning in info, says Synne.
S: We start each day with a joint gathering for the whole school with "Words for the day" and a song. It's a great start to the day.
A: On "Africa" we often have discussions with funny cases where we have to reflect on our own values, or a documentary that triggers our emotions. Then there may be a few days with a Swahili course (Swahili is the most used language in East Africa, where we travel on a study trip) or cooking African food.
A: An important theme is "Pedagogy for the rich", where we arrange an unfair dinner for the rest of the school to raise awareness of the world's injustice. We also focus a lot on our own consumption, and we have group discussions with "Golden Moments" themes. For example, "What do you want your friends to do for each other?"
M: Oh I love such tasks. Do not forget drama and role-playing games or "write and burn", where we can write and get an outlet for things we think about, before we burn the notes and put it behind us. We have also had group work to plan a dream trip to Africa.
S: Yes, not all this on the same day, but we think we get to try a lot, says Synne and laughs. And I think the whole gang is "inviting".
Read more about the Africa line
To what extent have you been challenged at EFHS?
M + S: In very many good ways. Compulsive socialization sounds bad, but it's just fun, both respond quite synchronously.
S: Especially in Temaukene, when we meet many across lines and boarding schools. It's really just a matter of becoming a little YES person, throwing yourself into all the events and program nights. Living so close to so many is a bit challenging, but very nice, says Madeleine. I'm so glad I decided to dig to say YES!
Why did you apply for Elverum Folk High School and the Africa line?
M: First and foremost because there were many lines and electives - then you will meet very different people.
A: I was fascinated by the school's aid project in Uganda. I probably always wanted to learn more about it.
S: And then the school was so nicely located, with a short way to bowling, euro paddle, forest with ski slopes and hiking terrain, swimming pool and cinema. The center is close by, with cafes and shops. And then we can watch Champions League matches in handball! Besides, I think it's very nice that we are "friends in everyday life" for single older people. We have a lot of good conversations.
What has been most instructive about Africa-Aid / Culture?
M: First and foremost, how little it takes to help others - in schools / kindergartens in Africa and Norway, visit elderly lonely people. And how easily we can raise a lot of funds for our projects.
S: Agree, and I have become more grateful and aware of what I have. And then we have become better at discussing both internal conflicts and documentaries / films we see on the line. And so insanely much exciting news-here at school and on study trips in Africa and Norway.
What do you think is good aid and what methods do you use to raise money?
S: I naturally think what we do here is good. 100% of the money is spent on the projects, it's very cool. And then we get to see with our own eyes how the money is spent when we travel on a study trip.
A: The projects are no bigger than the folk high school has control over, for example, corruption. I also like that we try to buy most of the goods and equipment in Kasese to strengthen the infrastructure, instead of bringing B-goods from Norway.
M: "Active for Others" is one of our largest sources of income. It is an aid race for the primary schools in Elverum.
M: We also have our own aid marathon at the school where the students gather sponsors and work with an activity for 28 hours. In one day we collect over NOK 230!
M: And then we had our own Spleis on the line and got a new school from another municipality on Aktiv for others. They are only 18 students but they have collected NOK 30. Cool! And then I liked that we had the theater "Nissejakten" for kindergartens before Christmas, and opened the Christmas street in Elverum with excerpts from the play.
S: In addition, we sold different Christmas gifts for over DKK 25.
So far, just before the Uganda trip, we have collected more than half a million kroner! I think I'm good.
M: Yes, we have pledged bottles from the school for more than NOK 10!
Do you have anything to say about the school's electives?
M: There is a very large range of subjects. I have Hunter test, Yoga, Dance, Ceramics, Buddy, Darkroom, Pilates, Language Café, Film Club and Ski / snowboard…
S: And I have Glassfusing, Choir, Strength, Football, Knitting, Crochet and belly of those that Madeleine said. You do not become a professional in any of them, but you get to try so much different.
Some new applicants are excited about whether they are good enough for this line?
S: As long as you have some commitment and take your share of the "volunteer work" then ZERO STRESS! You do not need any prior knowledge. No one gets stupid here and it's good to care a little. It is of course an advantage that you want to do something nice for others…
Have you started with future plans?
M: Yep, we will both travel back to Kasese and work voluntarily with the school's development project next year for 2-3 months. It is a great opportunity to get lots of life experience before seriousness and studies begin.
A: My wish for the rest of the school year now is to get to know people even better, be in the moment and have a wonderful trip to Uganda.
Do you have any good tips for new students?
S: Join in on things! Meet up! You get this far with commitment - zero stress.
M: Be open to new experiences, you always get a new experience. "Invite" - that is our motto! Remember that scary things can get very good.
Anything else you value at school?
S: We feel mustn't say the teachers, hehe. But I mean it seriously. We are very confident in everyone, and they are so different, but also so similar. Maybe a little special humor sometimes? (The line teacher understands that there are more than clear hints towards him).
M: And we understand that they want us well, Madeleine concludes.
Do you want to experience a year like Synne and Madeleine's?