How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA? Staff was late picking me up at the airport which was nerve racking, but basically they were helpful.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country? I met co-coordinator Nelson the day after my arrival. He treated me to coffee and lunch, which made feel supported. I had some contact with Nelson and saw Elizabeth about 5 times during my stay. This was fine with me.
What was your favorite memory of this trip? The children and daily involvement with them
What was the most difficult thing you experienced? Hygiene and getting over my American standards of being germ-free and the idea of cleanliness
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for? Money — the entire country of Tanzania does not accept credit cards and I expected to rely on this form of payment. Paying for a safari was extremely hard and the ATMs were often broken or not working.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) Take easy to wash items, take clothes you are willing to leave behind, take cleaning products and lots of germ wipes, down time activities like cards or a book and dry shampoo. If at an orphanage take white paper for drawing, decent journals for writing, tons of markers and quality pencils. These are items the kids valued more then candy!!
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
My experience in Tanzania was both inspiring and life changing. The children I met and worked with are the most resilient people I have ever met. They creatively play at recess, use the resources available in imaginative ways and have a passion for education!! As an American teacher for the past 10 years, I loved being part of a classroom where students were excited about knowledge and motivated to use education as a tool of empowerment. I was impressed by the teachers and what they were able to accomplish with the limited resources (one skills book per room, no erasers, low-grade paper, varied access to books). The family’s innovative center for children and the care given to their 35 orphans is something I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life!
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? yes :)
Kristin Volunteer Abroad in Arusha, Tanzania