Palms undertakes to visit each volunteer at least once during their placement. After each visit, the visiting representative writes a report for members, however this year we let the volunteers themselves report on the value of a Field Visit.
The news of the early visit of Christine was a surprise, given she was not expected until July. And a most productive, pleasant and timely visit it was.
Many professional and personal issues were able to be discussed in person with Christine and I think the face-to-face contact helped in finding some solutions. Some issues may not have immediate solutions, but getting food for further thought was great. Christine also briefed us on the newly introduced ‘Strategic Planning’ tool and took us through the process of developing our plans.
Christine also came with a printer for my Pre-University students, who are so deprived by not having the use of a printer. To get assignments printed they have had to leave the college to go to the University, or the nearby shop. It was costly and time wasting. This printer will provide the students with the ability to produce better quality work, and in time a better learning outcome.
So the visit for me was both personally and professionally beneficial. Seeing Christine here was like seeing an old friend. We shared meals and long nights chatting. For me, it was most timely because I was missing all my friends and getting a little home sick again. Now I miss you, Christine, so do come back soon. Thank you for bringing a touch of Australia to me in this wonderful far-away land.
I’m always excited when I know that Palms is sending someone to visit us in-country. I find it’s like having a family member or very close friend come to visit, for always the visitor is friendly and caring, accepting and encouraging, and very, very understanding of what life is like for us here. By the end of the visit, I feel as if I’ve been thoroughly spoilt! The visit strengthens the bond created by contact during the rest of our time on the field.
On a professional basis, the visit is always worthwhile, for worries, misunderstandings, feelings of frustration or uselessness are ironed out. The visitor can be a go-between between volunteer and employer, or even between volunteers. This smooths many a rough path and is greatly needed at times as well as appreciated.
Once, many years ago, I would have thought the cost of such visits could be used in a more practical way to aid people who are beset by poverty; but since being a Palms volunteer and experiencing the value of such visits, my opinion has
changed and I am most appreciative of the help and encouragement these visitors give.