There are not many jobs where, after finishing the washing up on an evening, you can go and spend a few hours with young women from around the world, learn about their cultures, swap some badges and bracelets and other interesting things, dance some African dance, get a henna tattoo and laugh hysterically at a certain Lebanese girl’s brilliant jokes.
Where is this job you ask? That job, is my job.
As I’m drawing to the end of my time here at Our Chalet, this wonderful International Evening with the Helen Storrow Seminar Participants reminds me why I love this place so much.
It is not for the nature, nor the escape. Whilst I love the towering mountains and the peace that surrounds this beautiful place, the true magic here at Our Chalet is the people.
Whether they are guests passing through, or staff you live and work with for months, the international environment and the friendships made are incredible.
There have been some incredible moments here at Our Chalet, from hiking up Elsighorn or going paragliding, to singing round the campfire with all the Winter Vollies before they left. Ski days with Meg, from glorious sunshine “Race you down” days, to blizzards and “Can you even see your skis?” days.
Learning to snowboard thanks to Monse, and dance Rwandan style with Sonia. The similarities between the Scottish and Irish humour with Nic, and the awe at Rach’s insane planning and organising – maybe it’ll rub off? As for Sam, programme intern, roomie for the last three weeks, I will miss you loads, but most of all: “Sammmm!? Make me popcorn!?”
And as for the work I hear you say? I have learnt a lot whilst being here. For example, I quite enjoy cleaning a few bathrooms, I love a day as kitchen coordinator, just chilling and cooking and cleaning.
There is a certain feeling of achievement when you feed everyone for the day and then still manage to leave the kitchen sparkling by 7pm.
Boris the Snowplough is my friend, and Derek the Dishwasher just needs a little encouragement.
We’re a mad bunch here, or maybe that’s just me.
As for Programme, I love programme. Leading hikes and sledging days through the winter, cooking bratwurst on a barbeque in the snow, watching groups awe at the frozen waterfalls. You know life is pretty sweet when a day in work can sometimes be a day’s sledging, perhaps followed by an evening running campfire.
Campfire is a beautiful thing. Not simple the fire its self (which yes, I could watch forever), but the atmosphere and the sharing and the people. Before the Winter Vollies left, we had a final campfire.
It was truly beautiful. Some of the new Spring Vollies shared songs with us, Sonia tried to teach us songs in French, Kinyarwandan, and I think Kenyan. She then promptly laughed at us all failing.
It was a pretty emotional campfire, with “Say why, do we have to say goodbye” setting us off somewhat. It was very sad to see my winter family leave, but I quickly had to pull myself together “Hello SPRING!”
The Spring Vollies are a great bunch, and whilst it’s sad I can’t spend longer with them, I’ve tried to pass on all my knowledge and tips and tricks before I leave.
I will be very sad to leave Our Chalet, I am now yet another person who will be calling Stokli “Home”. But it is time to move on – to Denmark! To Denmark for a reunion with Monse and Meg!
|So, what was it like to volunteer at Our Chalet? Well, I spent 3 beautiful months telling everyone “I love my job!”|
Winter volunteer and Short term Spring volunteer – 2013