«There is cocaine cheaper books»: the Russians-volunteers about their work at the end of the world

© Photo from personal archive Alina Chapelton, Shenfeld with children out of school in côte d’ivoire. Archive photo«There is cocaine cheaper books»: the Russians-volunteers about their work at the end of the world© Photo from personal archive Alina Shenfeld

Alina and Seal together studied at MGIMO and after could become diplomats or to work in a prestigious company.

However, both made a surprise choice for the volunteer program went to teach English in a third world country, Colombia and côte d’ivoire (Ivory Coast). About how Columbia students can talk about Yuri Gagarin, and that helps the white teachers in Africa — in the material RIA Novosti.

Cocaine cheaper books

«In Colombia, read a little, says worked as a volunteer Seal Seraji, Is the Most expensive cocaine is worth nine dollars per gram. The cheapest books is 12 dollars.» But the children, according to the Seal, still strive to get an education.

The Seal knows this firsthand — in the 80s his father was the first graduate of the Afghan Geological faculty of Moscow state University. After graduation dad left to work in Russia, where he was born Seal.

Before my trip to Colombia, he traveled: traveled across Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok, crossed the USA from East coast to the West, visited Europe. South America remained for him something unknown, and the role of the teacher was for a long time, so he decided to combine travel with volunteering.

His Colombian students, he asked about what they want to achieve in five years. A student familiar to the Russian ear the name Natalia said she wanted to go to University, then to cash in and buy a house for parents. It is unusual for Colombia — according to the Seal, only a few relate to their studies seriously, most of the locals fatalistic look at the future: what to study, if still going to work in the shop, which holds your father?

«Social mobility in Colombia, work badly, but education is something that gives a chance to those who want something to change,» says the volunteer.

Another Seal showed the children a video from the ISS, where astronauts carried out various experiments. For example, as water squeezed from a package in weightlessness takes the shape of the bubble and just moves in the air. «The children could not understand what caused it, they asked: «Professor, what’s happening?» Nobody knew that there is a station in space where people fly,» recalls Seal. About Russian schoolchildren, too, had a vague idea. Few people could show the country on a globe or name its capital. The only thing I knew every student, is the fact that Russia will host the world football championship in 2018.

«For six months I fought with existing stereotypes: I found a positive article on côte d’ivoire to show that everything is not as bad as it seems — says Alina. — It Africa the Russians is primarily associated with poverty, wars, epidemics and savagery. In reality all a little differently — a life in the big cities, though different from life in Russia, but there are also at least a minimum of amenities, and most importantly — water and electricity».

At the same time, the children are very independent in everyday life — most Ivorian families can’t afford a washing machine, so the locals from childhood know how to wash clothes.

The country’s poverty is manifested not only in the absence of household appliances. Alina says: «Many children eat only once a day, in the last lessons, they were very difficult to concentrate, they constantly distracted themselves and distracting to others.»

Alina lived in a Dorm at the University. «My neighbors are very much different in their level of knowledge from those whom I saw at school. It was already true intellectuals-Africanists».

In côte d’ivoire, French is the language of interethnic communication in the country 63 ethnic group. «When I showed a local friend, with some writing errors my students even French, they were dimmed with tears. They told me that this is the reality of the country that the education level here is really low, but is explained by the fact that a whole generation has not had the opportunity to learn from two conflicts that took place here in the first decade of the XXI century», — says Alina.

«But my relationship with Africa does not end there — she continued, — Now I don’t know exactly how, but I’m sure I want to help people there. I loved to work with children. Most of all I would like to inspire them, to give them the opportunity to believe that they can change everything».