Juana Bravo is a professional in Hotel Management, gaining experience in hotels, restaurants and cruise ships, throughout Latin America for over 10 years. As a Facilities Management Assistant, Juba, she is tasked to raise then maintain the standard of service in the UNMIS Camp to a three star level.
The challenges are many considering the size, location, its intended facilities, infrastructure and mission context. Juana is also importantly involved in the training and capacity building of the local staff. According to Juana:
My childhood was very poor and difficult. I was raised in an Afro-Peruvian neighbourhood of Lima, the capital of Peru; my family has African roots. I am the oldest one of four children and we were raised by a single mother. She worked as a cleaner at a hotel in town. Ever since then, accompanying my mother at work, my dream was to manage a hotel, have it elegant and clean, to welcome its guests.
To follow my dream, I signed up for Hotel Management at university. A scholarship and a job made it possible for me to support my studies. I only realised then how poor my family was, comparing with what my colleagues had. This only motivated me to work more, to get educated and learn foreign languages, to be able to support my family.
After graduation and many years of professional experience, I was able to train people in hospitality services; young and old, some without studies, single mothers, others very poor, trying to get ahead in life.
That is when I realised how important it was to follow your dreams no matter what. For me everything was possible. I accomplished my dreams and that is when I decided to volunteer. I wanted to show my gratitude for everything that I got and I wanted to do it by volunteering. I was keen to share not only my skills, but my life experience, to show that by working hard, people can make their dreams come true.
I found out about UNV by searching for "volunteers" on Google. I joined UNV because it was the perfect opportunity: doing what I like and sharing my experience.
Here in Juba, every day is a challenge. I train professionals interested to learn new things, I train young girls who don't even know how to read or write. I share my words, my smile, my positivism, I share my experience and when my colleagues listen to me, they feel that they can also succeed by working hard and keeping a commitment with themselves and their country, for this to be better a place.
Sudanese people really appreciate us, volunteers. They respect our work and they think what we do is very precious and valuable, seeing that we came all the way from our countries to give without expecting in return. This is what gives me strength to continue volunteering.