My name is Merel Godrie. Because of my name, when I introduce myself everybody thinks I am French, especially because of my pronunciation of the letter ‘r’ and soft sounding ‘g’. But actually I grew up in the south of Holland and I am now living in Utrecht city which is close to our capital Amsterdam. Merel means ‘blackbird’ in my language, which is funny because I am actually afraid of birds. I love to spend my lunchtime walking through the gardens but I am always aware of my surroundings, in particular to be able to spot birds that may come too close and steal my lunch.
Except for my fear of birds I think my name is well chosen. I am one of the early birds in the morning at Scalabrini. I work at the Employment Help Desk every morning and before the clients arrive at 9.00am we have already searched for job vacancies on the internet. During the day I meet lots of interesting people with various nationalities. In the afternoon I am part of the EID team (Employment Information Desk). At our desk we assist highly educated foreigners in their search and application for job openings and we guide them through the long and frustrating procedures they need to follow to work at their educational level in South Africa.
I have already learned a lot during my first few weeks. I will be volunteering at Scalabrini for two more months and I look forward to the interesting Scalabrini period that still lies ahead of me. In the next few weeks I will facilitate some workshops on computer literacy and life skills. I will definitely try to get the most out of my time in South Africa and Scalabrini Centre in particular. Since I have a Bachelors degree in Law and a Masters in Cultural Anthropology, this is a good place to put my knowledge into practice. Hopefully, I can contribute a lot to this organization and their very useful services.