Volunteer Name: Madeleine Emery
Project Location: Belize
Volunteered At: Children's Home
What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Getting to know the kids and the adventures in traveling I was able to have.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced?
Probably the living conditions or the fact you can't take any pics. Along with that i was very curious about the children's lives and wish it could have been more open and acceptable to hear about their stories...
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for?
That we couldn't take photos. I didn't know this and honestly it really made me angry, especially because i understand if you have to ask to take pictures but banning them all together is unnecessary. I would like the memories that photos give, also we had a friend looking to adopt and i think photos would have really helped. So That i wish i would have known and i wish they had a reason. The Heat and Bugs!! At one point I had over 200 bug bites, and was still using like 100% deet. It was also incredibly hot and humid, so i wish i would have packed more appropriately.
ABV: For the safety of the children in the orphanage its not allow to take pictures close or far from the children, we can't show the face of the children. You could take pictures of the placement, but not from the children, its a Belize government Policy, the orphanage can loose the status of Orphanage if they are showing pictures of the children.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
Definitely head over to the cayes, that is where you find the Belize you see in pictures! The actual city is pretty dumpy, but the cayes have that island, carribean feel to them, its about and hour and a half water taxi ride with round trip for 30 bucks and so worth it! Also the Belize Zoo was really fun! Pack for the heat and bugs… I don't know about donations, you would have to inquire at the home for their wish list!
How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA?
ABV was really great and helpful! They wanted to help as much as they could.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country?
The Orphanage director Agatha really tries but honestly the whole system is very disorganized and you have to be extremely self motivated to actually work and get things done.
ABV: You may find the orphanage disorganized, and its because they dont have enough helping hands and thats why we need volunteers that are proactive and can come and help this location.
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial): ABV was very helpful in trip planning and setting things up. They genuinely care about you're experience and make sure to follow up finding ways to improve!
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?