Volunteer Name: Alex L. Koplin
Project Location: Belize
Volunteered At: Orphanage
What was your favorite memory of this trip? My favorite memory was spending quality time with my daughter and getting to do new adventures everyday with her.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced?
Probably all the bug bites. I should have brought more anti-itch cream. Really the whole experience in Belize was very pleasant and interesting.
My daughter did get sick one night and we went to a free medical clinic in Cay Caulker, and she was find after she took the antibiotics.
It would be great if Jillian a girl with severe cognitive andphysical issues could receive more support and education. She doesn't go to school and she could benefit greatly if she did go to school.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for? I thought we were very prepared by ABV. Also,what helped was the other volunteers that gave us great information and we were able to hang out with them after work, which made it very enjoyable.
At the orphanage you have to be proactive and find things to do. You can't expect them to tell you what to do.
For people that need more direction, it could be difficult. We just looked at what needed to be done and did it.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) I think that breaking up the week is a good idea.
At this location, there is many things you can do around Belize that makes the visit special. We rented a car for 50.00 dollars a day and traveled.
One place I would recommend would be the tropical learning center adjacent to the zoo. Also, take the night tour of the zoo because it is really special. We also visited some Mayan ruins that were great to see. Make sure the phone bill for overseas is well thought out and make sure you understand all the things involved. ATT is not clear and it seems to depend on who you talk to about the deals you get.
I feel we were given bad info and that was costly.
How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA? I felt the information was good and it worked well.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country? Ms. Agatha was good and very positive.The staff there was also positive and they were considerate and helpful.
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial): This trip really helped me. It refueled my batteries and gave me a new perspective about life.
I realize this is corny and a little trite, but it did help me. Being with my daughter who is 18, and watching her and having a close person to talk to was great. Seeing how others with very little are so grateful each day for what they have is a great lesson and reminder of what we have here. The kids at the orphanage were all welcoming and well behaved. It was great interacting with them.
They were positive around us and some let us get closer and develop some positive relationships.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? It would be fine.