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One volunteer: Manfred Jodat, Engineer, Hansa-Planung, Germany

“Why did I choose to participate? Quite simply, I thought it was a good cause.”

Short description of your / your company’s main area of work, your years in the industry, any awards or major projects or achievements you’d like to share.

Hansa-Planung was founded in 1972. Today, the Bremen-based innovative Engineering Office, led by Manfred Jodat, has 30 employees and offers planning services throughout Germany. Our office won the Daikin Planner Award in 2013.

How did you get to know about Waterdrop?

The contact was arranged by Stefan Koszowyj, from the eponymous industrial representative in Munster.

Why did you choose to participate?

To put it shortly: I think it’s a good thing.

What did you expect to experience before the trip started? And what was your first impression when you finally arrived? How did you feel?

It was pretty exciting for me. I had already traveled through many countries in Europe, but I was never overseas. It left a deep impression with me, when I saw rich and poor living together in Manila. And how much construction is being done in this metropolis. I counted 240 skyscrapers with more than 30 stories from the window of my hotel.

Building water towers in elementary schools: Tell us a little bit about your experience – both building the towers and working with the children.

That was exciting and enriching at the same time. Also from a technical point of view I learned a few things. Also from the human perspective. It was great, how heartily the people entered into the project.

What were the major challenges you encountered and overcame during the trip? (i.e., heat, sanitary conditions, tiredness, etc.)

If you behave well and don’t travel into regions which could be dangerous, then everything’s OK. Otherwise the Philippines, at least from what we saw, mostly enjoy Western European standards. One issue was the vaccinations. I had a large number of them, with hepatitis, rabies, etc. My doctor said that I had to do it. Afterwards I was smarter about it — it wasn’t all absolutely necessary.

What’s your single most valuable moment or experience from the trip?

The best time for me was interacting with the children. The curious eyes and talks — that was terrific. I found that the building of the towers was the technical high point.

How was the relationship building and teamwork with the other participants – both from your country and from the other countries?

The entire team was very friendly, despite language barriers. French, English, German and locals, we all felt it: this isn’t just a project that you simply check off. For all involved, this came from the heart.

Now that some time has passed since your Waterdrop volunteer trip, has anything changed in your life? What is your favourite memory?

At any rate, I think much more about it now, and I think that whatever daily stress we may have, we are basically doing very well over here. When we complain about things here in Germany, about our living circumstances, then we’re complaining at a very, very high level. And the idea of interiorizing a stronger sense of sustainability–that’s what stays with me.

Would you recommend this Volunteer Trips to your colleagues or do such a trip again?

yes, I’d do it again. So such a trip, regardless of where you go, learning about the country and the people is more important than sitting in some club hotel or lying on the beach. I would do it again under any circumstances, and I can recommend such a tour without reservations.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience that we didn’t ask?

One can gain a lot more experience about the world on such a special trip than on a club trip in a typical commercial style. So I would like all the more to travel to India, to Vietnam, or even back to the Philippines.

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