My Favorite Memory: On one of my outreach days I went up into the hills to a village and the people were so warm and hospitable. Every family was very appreciative of our visit and what we could do for them. It made me feel that one person could make a difference!
I was most surprised that…. I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I ate dinner and went to bed.
My best received lesson… That you can not help everyone and you just have to pick your one thing, HIV in my case, and stick with it no matter how many others want your time or your money.
Tip for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) bring a silk sleep sack, they do not use a top sheet and most of the sheets were not nice. The silk was a good weight to keep cool and warm , You can also use it on Safari if you borrow a sleeping bag. I did see sunscreen and mosquito spray in some of the stores, but best bring your own to ensure quality. I took the weekly malaria medication and had no problem with it. Easy wash and wear clothes are best, like columbia or travel clothes,I went in rainy season- took some time for cottons to dry.I did not waste space on towels or toiletries just bought everything there and left it all behind for my host. I also bought new, not expensive, backpack and left it behind. I bought so many things that I left my hiking boots and keen shoes behind to make room in my suitcase. The recipients were happy. I took many more gifts than our program said and was happy I did. I gave items to many of the staff I was working with, t-shirts, cards, stickers etc. They took me under their wing and showed my the ropes.
Personal Paragraph (ABV Testimonial): I loved this trip. The children were wonderful and my co worker John was excellent. I am so glad I got to do more than one thing there, I know me and I would have been so bored to stay in the orphanage for 3 weeks. I loved going into the village and making a difference. We supplied a mattress for a paraplegic man with bilateral hip wounds. We took a very sick lady to the hospital and she recovered. The community support the tanzanians give each other is heartwarming. I passed out vitamins and was a role model for the young man I was working with. he is not medically trained but by watching me and the questions I asked and my assessment of the environments, I believe he learned alot. I hope he will take his new knowledge and pass it on. That is the ultimate reward to empower people to help each other.
How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff? The staff in the USA were excellent
How would you describe your accommodation ( ie: host family, on-site,shared housing etc) the housing was fine and the food was good, except the beef did not agree with me, my host was very accomodating and stuck to veggie meals per my request. Bed was comfortable, I did bring a silk sleep sack to keep out mosquitos and other things. Glad I brought my own TP very scarce there. Once I knew I could have a hot shower, I was happy! i was very aware of the water shortage and kept things short.
Would you recommend the ABV organization for someone interested in volunteering?yes I already have mentioned you to others who have asked my about my trip.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? yes, I would be pleased to do so. I had a wonderful time.
Pamela Volunteer Abroad in Arusha, Tanzania