How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA?ON a scale of 1-10 I would rate my experience working with the ABV staff as a 10. Out of all the programs I looked into, I found ABV was the most informative, answered any questions and concerns I had with immediate response.Sarah was awesome.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country?The local ABV coordinator was great in Arusha. I was well taken care from day 1, from taking me to get money exchanged, my volunteer visa, getting a phone card and grocery shopping.I was also accompanied on my first day to the Orphanage to show me where I would need to go to take local transport and how to get to my placement. They went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable from the time I landed and felt they prepared me for the rest of my stay.
What was your favorite memory of this trip?My favorite memory of the trip would definitely be the children. They are easy to love and hard to forget. I learned so much from them (probably more than the learned from me) and I got to see how well they are taken care of at the orphanage and the importance of Winfria’s work. The children are provided with a loving environment, nutrition and proper health care that family members would not be able too.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced?The most difficult thing I experienced would probably be their sense of urgency or time but ABV had prepared/warned us of this prior to the trip. What we would consider a priority may not necessarily be considered a priority to them.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for?Overall I think I was well prepared and possibly be over prepared which I would rather much preferred. ABV gave a great description of items to pack and expectations of Arusha which was much appreciated.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) Personal tips, travel as light as possibly for clothing, maybe 1 weeks. Also research weather during the time of your stay. Arusha was cooler than I expected during my stay and I only had 1 sweater and a jean jacket.
Money as a donation would be more useful than bringing items only because it will make your travel a lot lighter but anything you give or bring is so greatly appreciated by the orphanage. As for sight seeing, it’s best to wait until you get to Arusha to confirm any plans i.e. safari’s, tours. I found I was able to get great recommendations and what was considered good pricing for things by the Arusha ABV coordinator or other volunteers already staying in Arusha. Something that would have been difficult to do booking online prior to my trip.
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):Taking the time to volunteer was something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. From the first time I spoke with Sarah I knew I had made the right decision choosing ABV as my program. All my concerns/questions were immediately answered and felt well informed of my expectations and what was expected from me. I’m glad I was able to fulfill this dream through this rewarding experience. I would without doubt recommend ABV with confidence to anyone considering volunteering abroad.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Natalie Volunteer Abroad in Arusha, Tanzania