Volunteer Name: Brendan Leary
Location: Arusha, Tanzania
Volunteer at: Orphanage/School
What city/area did you volunteer in?
When did you travel & how long did you volunteer for?
Oct 16, 2014 for four weeks
What was the weather/climate like that time of year?
Extremely beautiful, hot and dry
What was a typical day like at your project?
I signed up to volunteer at the orphanage and help with any constructions needs. I ended up help drawing a mural on the side of building, spent a lot of time hanging out with the kids and teachers, spent time assisting teachers in the classroom and other odds and ends stuff.
What were your work hours each week?
They were pretty lenient as to when I worked but I would show up around 9am and usually leave when the kids left at 3pm, Monday through Friday
For your specific project what donation/supplies are most needed?
They’ll happily take anything. From what I saw they could use school supplies (pencils, sharpeners, erasers etc) and small toys for the kids. Kids in Tanzania literally have nothing, it’s not uncommon to see kids picking up trash on the street and using it as a toy.
How far was your daily commute?
Walk through the city for over a mile then take a dala dala (bus) for about fifteen minutes to a part of town called Ngusero, where the school is located
How much money did you spend each week in local transportation?
Dala dala are only like 20 cents USD, taxis and piki piki (motorcycle taxis) are only a few USD.
How would you describe your local accommodation & meals provide?
They call it a volunteer hostel which had we nervous at first but it turned out to be very nice. It is gated and very secure and you have the freedom to do as you please. I had my own room and bathroom which was cleaned weekly. The housekeeper was extremely friendly and took me out a few times and taught me about the local customs. He is an amazing cook who had breakfast ready every morning and dinner every night. All local foods that where very good…Hope you like white rice!
Did you have any security/safety issues while abroad?
Being from a completely different world there was times when I felt on edge but it all turned out well, nothing bad happened to me. The city is safe and outsider friendly, Pick pocket-ers are the only thing to be concerned about.
Was the support provided by your ABV Coordinator sufficient?
Better than sufficient! They showed up on my first day and showed me around town. They took me out in Arusha and introduced me there friends and made the trip better than what I could have expected.
What could be improved upon?
They’re a little unorganized but so is everyone in Tanzania.
What are some local sightseeing trips/highlights that you recommend for future volunteers?
Safari’s, defiantly do a Safari. There is also Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar which are big tourist destinations that I didn’t do.
How much money did you budget for sightseeing? Was it enough?
The Safari was $650 for four day but you can do fewer days for cheaper. Price included everything (tents, sleeping bags, plenty of food and water etc)
What was the most difficult part of the experience for you?
Adjusting to the new culture. It literally is a completely different world and you are not a tourist, you live just like locals.
What was the most surprising thing you learned or experienced in the program?
How friendly/ welcoming everyone is. I became very close friends with the teachers and hung out with them outside the school.
What tips or insight would you tell a volunteer considering this program?
Just go for it and do it, it is worth every penny. When there don’t be scared, just go with the flow of everything and open your eyes to everything happening around you. This is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity so enjoy every second.
What was your favorite part of the volunteer program?
The kids, they go crazy for white people and treat you like a superstar. It can be overwhelming at first but just have fun with it. I learned a lot about Tanzanian living from them.
What if anything would you have changed about this project?
More information about housing and the Focus in Africa group would have been very helpful
Would you recommend A Broader View Volunteers to your friends and family?
Are you willing to be an ABV alumni and communicate with potential volunteers?