How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA?
Before our trip, we felt incredibly well-prepared thanks to the frequent contact we had with the ABV coordinators. Naturally we had a handful of questions about accommodation, safety, expenses, etc.; we received thorough and prompt responses for every single one. At the end of our first week in Tanzania, we and in got lost in our village – we contacted Sarah Ehlers and within minutes were picked up by our coordinator. The ABV staff, although we didn’t need to contact them many times during the trip, was and is very a responsible group of people.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country?
Similar to the ABV staff in the USA, our director in Arusha was also very helpful and easy to contact. She was very open and willing to show us around the city and make us feel more at home.
What was your favorite memory of this trip?
One of our favorite memories of our trip was when our fellow volunteers and us joined our host family at the school graduation outside of Arusha. Similar to the graduation familiar to us in America, the kids preformed several acts – from songs to dances to skits. Following the ceremonies we had a traditional Tanzanian meal. The day was long but full of energy, hope, and pure Tanzanian culture.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced?
Working with incredible children and feeling relatively helpless; there was only so much we could do for them, and that was difficult to accept.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for?
The amount of free time we had, and the lack of structure or requirements within our work.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
If you are doing a trip that includes working with children, try to go for at least three weeks. We saw so many volunteers come and go, and it’s difficult for the children.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Yes.
Erica and Chase Volunteer in Arusha, Tanzania