Max Rollason – A success story
Max Rollason – A success story
Max Rollason, 18, from Redditch in the UK applied to volunteer with Bhubesi Pride Foundation (BPF/the Pride) in 2017. He was successfully selected to join the Pride for three months in Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi.
How did you hear about Bhubesi Pride Foundation?
Tweet by Jacques Burger in April 2016 about the foundation saying “just do this.” As a Saracens season ticket holder, I follow him, so was intrigued into finding out more about BPF.
Why did you apply to become a volunteer coach on the 2017 expedition?
I saw volunteering for the Pride as a fantastic opportunity to experience Africa whilst doing something that I love and making a difference.
Three months is a considerable length of time to participate, Max – why so long?
I wanted to have a long enough period of time to find my feet, make a really worthwhile contribution to the expedition and test what I was made of.
Had you travelled on your own before? How did you prepare and plan for your trip? Were you nervous as you prepared to travel and what were your feelings as you arrived in Windhoek?
No I hadn’t and didn’t prepare myself mentally at all….. On arrival in Windhoek, I hadn’t got exact address details of where I would be stopping so they wouldn’t allow me in. After a few phone calls I was allowed in! I was really tired and home seemed very far away.
I understand you felt out of your comfort zone when you first joined the Pride. How did you overcome your feelings day by day and what made you able to triumph?
I was really out of my depth. Africa is very different to home; phone reception wasn’t good and I couldn’t just make calls…. All of a sudden I was on the other side of the world with people I didn’t know, feeling very alone.
I set myself goals in the early days to do one more week and get to the next place. A few weeks in I realised that I wasn’t doing it anymore and was actually really enjoying my time in Africa.
What do you consider you have learnt as a result of your participation?
Being a Pride member means living day to day with people from all over the world of different ages, backgrounds and experiences. Getting used to different accents, cultures, ideas and ways of being was sometimes challenging but you have to learn to get along.
Can you provide three examples of your own perceived self-development?
- Not giving up when I struggled in the early days
- My coaching
- Public speaking
What was the best and the worst thing about your experience?
- Best – being able to participate in such a great experience and make so many new friends
- Worst - travelling on the mini bus (sorry Nala!) but at 6 ft 6 inches tall the long hours on the bus got uncomfortable
Do you think your experience will help you in your day to day life? And your professional life?
Yes! I now have more self belief as to what I can achieve when I am out of my comfort zone. I feel this will help me in my professional life as I aim to join the forces which will once again take me into very unfamiliar environments with lots of new people that I will need to build relationships with. Having had this experience with the Pride has given me confidence and improved my people skills like no other experience could have.
Would you encourage others to join an expedition with Bhubesi Pride Foundation, and why?
Absolutely yes! It is a massive opportunity for personal growth and adventure; I saw so many fantastic sights in Africa, coached some great kids…... I loved every minute and ended up not wanting it to end.
This is an edited verson of Max’s interview with BPF Volunteer and Stakeholder Manager, Sally Bennett. To see the full interview please visit BPF blog: www.rugbyinafrica.org
For more information and to for details of how to apply to take part in a BFP expedition: http://rugbyinafrica.org/about/apply-to-join-us/