No.20, December 2016
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Old volunteer photos rekindle Tongan locals' memories

Old assignment photos can be of great interest to communities where volunteers lived many years ago, says Wellington returned volunteer John Faisandier.

John was 18 when he taught at St Peter Chanel College in Vava’u in 1970. This year, as the college celebrates its 50th Jubilee, John has been posting his old photos on its Facebook page which has 1500 followers.

“Almost none of the ex-students have any photos from that time,” John says. “There were no official school photos and my ones that I have now digitised have sparked wonderful responses."

Facebook conversations range from... Read more >

Eighteen-year-old John Faisandier at Chanel College in Vava'u in 1970.
John's 1970 photos have created great excitement as the school's 50th Jubilee rolls around.
An aerogramme from Sir Ed

Jim Tully recalls letters from Hillary, VSA and his own family 51 years ago.
In a 1965 issue of the VSA newsletter, Mosquito, VSA president Sir Edmund Hillary congratulated volunteers Jim Tully and Rod Trott on climbing 4096m Mt Kinabalu in Borneo.

As president from 1963 to 1976, Sir Ed regularly wrote to all serving volunteers with news from across VSA. Sometimes he or other VSA Council members posted the newsletter.

We asked Jim, now Adjunct Associate Professor, Media and Communication, at
Aerogrammes, from family and from VSA, were a lifeline for volunteers in pre-digital days.

Canterbury University, how important letters and newsletters were back in the day. Asking us to bear in mind that it’s 51 years since he was a school leaver volunteer, Jim writes: Read more >
Six out of 10 volunteers today are in Melanesia (from VSA's Annual Report, 2015-2016).
Coping with the 'return to New Zealand blues'
After the excitement of volunteering, you return home and… this is it? Nothing’s changed. New Zealand seems dreary and cheerless. Everyone wears black and has so much stuff.

On the other hand, it’s great to see everyone. You've been looking forward to it for ages and it's wonderful to enjoy family and friends again and to visit favourite places. Hopes and expectations are high, the future bright.
This range of responses is quite normal on returning home from assignment. New content on the VSAConnect website aims to address these emotional swings and provide some advice on making the transition from volunteering to life back home.

See ‘Don’t burn up on re-entry’; ‘Guide to re-entering the job market’ and ‘Positive steps to adapting’.

An assignment
for you

An experienced bricklayer is wanted for three months in Bougainville next year, a plumber is wanted in Kiribati and a quantity surveyor in the Solomons.

If building is not your thing, then among VSA's 23 vacancies are assignments in health, agriculture, records management, media, transport, IT, tourism and business.

The deadline for applications is
5 February 2016 - h
ere's the full list.

Feel free to pass these listings on to friends or circulate them through your professional networks.

You can register your interest in certain types of assignment. Just complete an easy online form and you'll be emailed when a vacancy in your field comes up.
Events calendar
Wellington BBQ and pot luck:

A BBQ and pot luck dinner is planned for Wellington in late January, organised by the Wellington VSA branch with VSAConnect support. The date and venue in Pauatahanui to be advised... watch this space.

Welcome to VSAConnect

Welcome to these volunteers who have joined VSAConnect on returning home in recent months (click to read their VSA profiles):
Join VSA's 26,979 Facebook followers
GLOBAL SPOTLIGHT: Keep an eye on the media, on our website and on our Facebook page this week as we share stories, photos and videos of volunteers past and present and cover how volunteers are celebrated by our partner countries.

5 December is International Volunteer Day, when our volunteers and the millions of volunteers worldwide are recognised for the difference they make to communities where they work.
This year, VSA volunteers have continued to work with people and organisations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. In fact, across 192 assignments, VSA volunteers worked the equivalent of 121 years in the field!
News clippings
From Tetun to Te Reo
VSA volunteer Rachel Hutchison plans to learn Te Reo on her return to New Zealand this month after learning Timor-Leste's official language, Tetun, during her 10-month posting in Dili, reports the Manawatu Standard.

Rachel, 23, is pictured above with volunteers at the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room where she is a library and museum assistant. It will be easier to learn Te Reo now she's had a taste of Tetun, Rachel says, as both languages have many similar words and sounds. Read more >

'We luv ya, Keem"

Of two million Australian newspaper articles published over the last five years, 0.70% were about Indonesia, 0.43% about New Zealand, 0.13% about Kim Kardashian, 0.13% about PNG and 0.07% about Fiji.

(Source: DevPolicy Blog, 30 Sept 2016)

Rural radio from New Zealand to Cambodia
Retired rural broadcaster John Gordon (right), who is well-known for his television work on Country Calendar and A Dog's Show, revealed his VSA background in a recent Southland Times profile.

John, now 72, went to Cambodia in 2009 for a two-year stint as a communications adviser and staff trainer in agriculture. “I also developed a radio programme for Cambodian farmers," he says. "It’s still going, I’m thrilled to say.” From 2003-2004, he was a farm manager and an agricultural teacher in Bougainville. Read more >

Spreading the word

Thanks to these returned volunteers who talked about their VSA adventures to a combined audience of more than 300 people at speaking engagements during November: Peter Ward (at South Wairarapa Rotary), Sue Lancaster (Hornby Combined Probus), Warwick and Jo Bowden (Orewa Rotary), Arnold Hawkins (Waikanae Central Probus) and Philippa Robinson (Avondale Ladies Probus).

So far this year over 2400 New Zealanders have heard talks by returned volunteers. If you're keen to be a speaker or would like some support for a planned talk, contact VSAConnect.

Inaugural Bay of Plenty VSA event

A highly successful VSA event in Tauranga on 17 November attracted around 30 Bay of Plenty returned volunteers and supporters.

Speakers included VSA CE Gill Greer, VSAConnect coordinator Pat Martin, and Downer executive general manager, Jeff Oldman, a Tauranga local who spoke about Downer's VSA programme.

John and Alison Bowis and Dave and Rosie Hall came across from Whakatane and organised an excellent lunch.

A small 'interest group' has been set up to build on the many connections made and to maintain a VSA presence in the Bay.
E-nius is sent to VSAConnect members who have supplied email addresses
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