I attended a weeks football coaching with Challenge Charity from the 5th to the 10th of August 2013 along with 2 of my colleagues from the British Army.We had a bit of time off and thought it would be a great way to spend our leave as we are based in Kenya.
With regards to the football, this is an excellent scheme where I not only thoroughly enjoyed myself but also found out a lot about my abilities as a coach and what age level I can work well with. This has resulted in me focusing on developing my youth football qualifications to ensure I can bring as much benefits as I can to those I will coach in future visits.
As mentioned it was a thoroughly rewarding week, there is a huge undiscovered amount of footballing potential in Kenya, and those we coached were a joy to work with, both the KYFA and AVFL are striving to work at raising the profiles of their communities and The Challenge team are also making sure any scheme is well supported. It was a real eye opener and I am so pleased I volunteered for the week.
Challenge is an awesome scheme and is well worth getting involved with.
Lee Fraser (Scotland)
Cameroon is the experience of a lifetime, this is real Africa, forget what you might expect it to be like, or what you think might happen, because in reality to know it, you have to live it yourself.
This is such a different world, the people are amazingly friendly to the point where it can feed your ego at times, It’s about as close as to feeling famous as I would ever expect to get. Cameroon is very laid back and relaxed in the day, and if you like to go out at night then there are bars everywhere you turn. The standard of living and the facilities available is notably less than in the western world, but once you acclimatise after around 7 to 10 days then you can really start to enjoy yourself. I can’t speak for everyone but I can honestly say that having experienced what I have, I am now able to put things in perspective much more and feel a much better person for it. In summary if you like meeting people and want to live a different, perhaps even more fulfilling period in your life that has potential to change the way you view things, then going to Limbe is something I would highly recommend.
If you are debating on Kenya or Cameroon when it comes to working with AVFAL, and you are someone who would like to hold on to western culture as much as possible while they are away, then I can tell you that some Kenyans describe themself as ‘more British than the British’. Kenya is a very beautiful country, the people there are very friendly and the children will love you for doing what you do. The infrastructure in Nakuru is very good with some very nice shops and bars, while if you have a chance to see Nairobi at all then this really is a stunning city. Cold showers and some poor roads aside Kenya is quite westernised, but here you have people who can’t wait to meet you and personal fulfilment you just won’t get in an average week at home.
Andrew Ormsby (England)
I spent 5 weeks out in Limbe over the Summer. I had previously travelled quite a bit throughout East Africa and this was my first experience of a West African country. I could not have chosen a friendlier or more interesting and fun place to be. As soon as I arrived I was accepted straight into the community, receiving invitations to people’s houses for lunches, dinners, parties and even a wedding! I was lucky enough to help out with some football coaching and with the kids at Save the Children Orphanage. I also visited a local forest project to learn about some of the difficulties it was having. Throughout the whole process, the Challenge team were amazing. I would recommend going out to Cameroon with Challenge if you want to experience something fairly unique and if you not only want to make a difference, but if you want to see the difference that you make too. And it helps if you like beer. Thank you Challenge for the opportunity!
Claire McHaffie (Scotland)
I have had a great time during my stay in Limbe. Playing football with the boys of AVFAL was a great experience. Besides that I loved it to coach them during some friendlies. I want to thanks Coach Lucas for the effort he put in me and for the opportunity to volunteer. The matches I played with the local teams were great too. During the two months I received a great insight in the African (football)culture. My stay was a great mix between playing football, relaxing and drinking some beers at different nice bars. Special thanks also to Nathan, who was there for me during the preparations. Overall I am really thankful for this great experience!
Jireel Verhage (Netherlands)
Just back a couple of weeks ago from one of the best experiences of my life, volunteering with Challenge in Cameroon. From the start of the process the charity were amazingly helpful, right from initially securing my place on the placement, all the way up to last minute schedule changes in my flight - there was constant contact between myself and the project coordinator, Nathan. The experience itself was so rewarding. Working with kids that have so little, yet get so much joy out of you helping them with their footballing development is something hard to describe without witnessing it first hand. All the coaches, kids and locals were so welcoming and genuinely made me feel at home during my stay - be it inviting you round for dinner or down to the bar for a couple of beers! Thanks again to Nathan and Challenge for a truly unforgettable trip, something I'd recommend to everyone!
Johnny Cross (Scotland)
I have been part of the Challenge-Avfal project for two months this summer, and will strongly advice the experience to football lovers but not only. The level of human relationships is very high and very fulfilling. There is no pressure and no crime around you, people in Cameroon are extremely friendly, the organization impeccable, accommodation of good standard, Nathan and the volunteers allow you great freedom and support, a good time is guaranteed. You will not spend too much money, life is quite cheap. The Avfal team is composed by very nice young boys with amazing technique, superb skills and an outstanding coach, Lucas, from which to learn a lot. You will see life from a very different angle and this experience will remain with you forever. As a professional Chef, I also had the chance to teach at a Catering school and got moved by the respect and seriousness the girls and boys showed in order to acquire skills to use for their career in catering. You can also give a hand at the orphanage nearby. Limbe is a small, human-size town where you will be well known and treated like a friend. There are plenty of trekking opportunities and beach life. Fresh caught fish grilled for a pound in front of you!!I don't want to say too much, leaving to you to discover the rest. Definitely recommended, greet Cameroonians for me if you go!
Mario Molino (Italy)
After graduating from university I wanted to take a break from academics and get an experience outside of the norm. I decided on a whim to volunteer in Limbe, Cameroon. Knowing little about Cameroon or Limbe, I was unsure what to expect. However, when I arrived I found myself pleasantly surprised. The local culture in Limbe is very relaxed and welcoming. I had no trouble adjusting to the lifestyle and I always felt safe Limbe. During my stay I met so many wonderful people, both volunteers and locals. I got to experience things I could only dream of, like playing with baby chimpanzees and hiking through the rain forest. My three month stay in Limbe came and went far too quickly. While returning to the luxuries of the States was nice, I still frequently long for the simpler life and the friendly faces I left behind in Limbe. I no doubt will find myself in Limbe again.
Whitney Soltau (United States)
I went to Cameroon to work with AVFAL. I originally approached Challenge to help me with organising my trip. Challenge could not have been more helpful with organising my visa, accomodation and airport transfers, and there was always somebody available to answer any questions that I had about what I needed to do while planning my trip from injections to airline suggestions. Upon arrival into Cameroon I was picked up from the airport by the football coaches who took me to Limbe and introduced me to the local cuisine (Atchu soup is a particular favourite) and local beers - Export time! Some of the most rewarding experiences of my life were had during my stay in Cameroon and I am saving up to return as soon as I can. The feeling you get from training a bunch of local kids who have never played together to winning a full game against an experienced team from an established football academy is one that I have never had in any other walk of life. The kids truly appreciate you being there and the coaches are brilliant crack away from the field as well, and you are guaranteed to see some things bizarre and unexpected, some things heartbreaking, some heartwarming and some hilarious! A life changing experience and one that I would recommend to anybody!
Mark Elliot (United Kingdom)
If you would like to contact the person regarding their placement please contact us and tell us which name and we will forward on the email address.
- Challenge will plan your trip with you so you are fully prepared for your volunteering experience