Volunteer Name: Cole McCarty
Project Location: Arusha, Tanzania
Volunteered at: Medical - Dental / Healthcare
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
The support in country was great. The last day however, I had big issues with my flight and Nelson came through HUGE for me though. I can't compliment him enough.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
The way that the hospital was run. They had everything together and were definitely not in need of help from students. I expected to be in a scenario where hands were needed and to help, and St. Elizabeth's wasn't like that all. Not a bad thing, just different.
3- What was most difficult to experience?
Having one of the infants die on the ward was the most difficult thing in the hospital. Outside the hospital constantly being noticed as different and having people obviously talk about you in Swahili without you being to understand was very frustrating.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
The house has plenty of accomodations for entertainment, don't need to bring much on that front. Bring clothes for colder weather, it's not frigid or anything but during winter the nights are definitely chilly. Don't use Expedia or a travel agency, it's easier to just go through an airline. Bring Earplugs or noise cancelling headphones.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
You have to be on guard when you're walking around in the city, but that doesn't mean you can't be friendly or allow others to be friendly. Lots of people are just trying to be nice to the Mzungu. Go on Safari if at all possible, go to a local bar, play soccer with the kids at the program just try to get at least a little into the culture.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
This was one of the most challenging, intense, rewarding months of my life. Lots of experiences that I will never forget, both inside of the hospital and outside. There were days where I was extremely frustrated with everything, because the culture there is so different but if you put yourself out there, there are some amazing chances. If you were willing to be assertive and work, the hospital staff respected you and would find you whenever something interesting was about to happen. Given the chance to do it again, I would never turn down this summer, I'm looking forward to going back once I've finished up my schooling.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Very nice, the meals were amazing and the beds were perfect for the program. Having TV and a fridge was more than I expected.
8- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Probably either the safari or working with the pediatric patients at the hospital.
9 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
I thought the guide was very valuable but there really needs to be at least a section that focuses on each different volunteer site/focus.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?