Name: Oluwatosin Adegbola
Hometown: Perry Hall, Maryland
Nationality: United States
Languages spoken: English, French (intermediate), Yoruba (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)
Occupation: Associate Professor at Morgan State University
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for Disadvantaged Youth in Cartago, Costa Rica
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: June 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I have always wanted to engage in a structured volunteer program to find ways to actively give my time in a manner needed and helpful to the group I am volunteering for. Working at a college and meeting students who have the same desire, I thought it would be a great idea to embark on such a program with my students. Doing my research on which program to travel through, I found UBELONG to be especially comprehensive and organized and I appreciated that.
What did you take from the experience?
Humans who can must continue to give in any way they can because there just isn’t equity of resources, and very rarely is it the fault of the person who doesn’t have the basics. I also took from it the need to shut off from external influences, reflect on what matters – keeping good relationships, and finding something to enjoy in each day no matter how minuscule it may seem.
What advice would you tell a future volunteer?
Be respectful. Working with those in need isn’t an opportunity to take self-gratifying photo-ops. If you drop all ‘airs’ and give yourself to the project, it may just change your life.
In a sentence or less, what was your funniest moment?
We stayed with a delightful host family who have an energetic 8-year-old daughter and prankster of a 13-year-old son. The son found delightfully new and creative ways to scare us each day which brought on so much laughter. We played a lot of games with the daughter, but one day she had all of us dance as her back up to an entire uncoordinated routine – we could not stop laughing the whole time!
Something else funny – the playful rivalry between me and one of the project’s students during the World Cup.