My Favorite Memory: On my last day, the kids performed for me as a way to say thank you and that I will be missed, that was very cute and sweet. Also, every morning, they would cheer me by singing and hugging me as I arrive.
I was surprised that: the kids were very active and well behaved. I was also surprised that they had very little or nothing to provide the patients with when we did home visits besides psychological comfort. In addition, being a New Yorker, I was very surprised how friendly and welcoming the local people are. The city is also very nice and clean as well.
The most difficult thing I experienced was: The dust and the microbuses (dalas dalas). When the dust storm (for lack of a better word) hits, one gets covered. And those little crowded buses are an experience on their own from riding with goats and people hanging in and out of the microbus to the many bumps. Enjoy the ride!!!
My best received lesson… Life is an adventure. You might not be able to change the world but you can surely touch someone’s life, love and enjoy another.
Tip for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
Clothing: bring comfortable clothes and most importantly extremely comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot. DO NOT bring any new pair of shoes!!! Do pack some nice clothes (a few favorite tops and bottoms). Travel tissue is a must (one that pulls out of a convenient dispenser). Hand sanitizers (I preferred the pads because it actually takes the dust off). There is a western market where you can purchase personal items, but I brought enough to last me the stay, you might not find your preferred brand. DO bring snacks like bars. Sightseeing: Consider doing a safari if possible, Climb Kilimanjaro if you want a challenge and leave time to visit Zanzibar if you enjoy beaches. Donations: clothes for the kids and stuff to play with them and teaching materials. And last but not least, you will find that the work plan does not always go as stated and sometimes you will need to be a self starter. Don’t complain!!! Make the most out of your trip!!
Personal Paragraph (Testimonial):
Taking part in this wonderful project was one of the most rewarding things that have ever happened to me. I have gained more than I have ever given back to the people of Tanzania. Those kids taught me to keep life simple and make the most out of it. They showed me what it is like to love and enjoy one another with very little. I have indeed gained a broader view of the world.
How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the USA, and in-country? Sarah is the best. She was extremely helpful through the whole process and promptly replied to emails. Just ask as many times as needed and she’ll always reply with an answer promptly. Thanks a bunch Sarah!!! Nelson was also very nice. I don’t have anything to complain about.
How would you describe your accommodation ( ie: host family, on-site, shared housing etc)
I loved my host family. They really made us feel at home and the food was delicious. They were always willing to help. I will miss them. The only thing I never adjusted to was the time of dinner which was around 8:30pm and sometimes 9pm.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Yes, anytime.
Therry Volunteer Abroad in Arusha, Tanzania