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VOLUNTEERING IN TANZANIA

February 19, 2019

 

EVERYTHING REVEALED ABOUT OUR VOLUNTEERING EXPERIENCE IN TANZANIA

 

 Having fun in the courtyard at school in Arusha, Tanzania 

 

 

Tanzania was another country like Malaysia which was not on out list – however, after talking to a couple of friends who visited Africa, we decided to opt for Tanzania against Madagascar. The main reason was still money-driven as we needed to economize after the rather expensive program in Malaysia.

 

Want to know more about the Philippines and its visa requirements? Check out our travel tips HERE

 

 

TANZANIAN WORKAWAY

 

Workaway came to rescue again (after having used it in the Philippines) and we selected a host based in Arusha after one of our friends told us great things of Tanzania and Arusha in particular.

 

Communication was not the best from the beginning as our host did not reply to a few of fundamental questions such as more details on the school where we were going to volunteer (age of the children or type of tasks requested) and more details about accommodation and food. But, once again we decided to trust this host after reading a great feedback from a previous volunteer.

 

Not sure how to make it happen? Have a look at our article on how to make it happen! 

 

 Children having porridge during the break in Tanzania Children Support School, Arusha (Tanzania)

 

 

THE REAL ARUSHA

 

What to say, our time in Arusha has been very challenging, possibly the most difficult of all our experiences. Luckily, our host Salim welcomed us at the airport and took us to the neighbor of Arusha where his school and his house are.

 

Starting from accommodation, we lived how local people live - we were assigned a tiny room with only a bed and two buckets in a communal courtyard. There were a pit toilet and a “shower” room where you basically bring a bucket of water and wash yourself. No running water from the tap so we had to walk to the well to get it and some blackouts during our stay made it even more interesting.


What should you pack for a one year trip around the world? Have a pick at our packing tips HERE 

 

 The courtyard where we lived in Arusha, Tanzania

 

 

A CULINARY EXPERIENCE

 

Food was served at Salim’s house – apart from our first breakfast (two slices of white bread and a tea with milk) and first lunch (plain white rice) we decided to buy and cook our own food from day two. We always joined the family for dinner as it was a little bit more substantial and an occasion to experience local life.

 

We have never complained about buying our own food for breakfast and lunch as we felt it was better for us this way, however, we were also quite surprised how fast our decision (from the second day basically) got readily accepted by our hosts without saying a word, who had never prepared a single breakfast or lunch for us ever since, although the agreement on Workaway stated otherwise.

 

How to stay safe on the road everywhere in the world - Read more HERE

 

Ugali with samaki (fish), cooked green bananas with potatoes, rice with beans or with pieces of chicken, chipsi (fries) and an occasional BBQ have been our diet for one month. Sometimes more people were coming to dinner, so food was shared amongst 7 to 10 people. We then decided to supplement our diet with more fruits and biscuits in the evening, which again was more a pleasure than a burden for us.

 

 Preparing porridge at Tanzania Children Support School, Arusha (Tanzania) 

 

 

HEALTH-WISE

 

Health-wise, I guess we were pretty unlucky as Fabio got a bad chest infection straight away and had to go to the hospital to get checked – he also fainted in my arms because of the very high fever which got me extremely scared! Luckily, Arusha has a very low percentage of malaria cases and the doctors excluded that from the beginning. We had stomach issues and cough for weeks which never happened to us before, that’s one reason why we supplemented our diet and we tried to be extremely cautious with local food and hygiene which is very difficult when dealing with children every day.

 

READ MORE ABOUT OUR OTHER VOLUNTEERING EXPERIENCES IN:

CANADA

NEPAL

THE PHILIPPINES

BORNEO

UGANDA

 

 Some of the young students at Tanzania Children Support School, Arusha (Tanzania) 

 

 

 

SMILEY CHILDREN

 

But let’s get to the volunteering part – to our surprise, the children at the school were very young (from 3 to 5 years old) and could not understand or speak English very well. As we had some lessons prepared for older kids with a decent level of English, we felt we could not help much except for assisting the local teachers with homework correction and making sure all students were awake and following the lesson. Most children were very excited to see us and wanted to play at every occasion –on a personal level we were happy to be with them and play, though from a volunteering point of view, we wished they were just older enough to truly profit from all material prepared for them. Thanks to our friends’ donations the biggest achievement was probably the fact we could buy material to build four new school desks and lots of stationaries as well as sugar and porridge for two months for all the children.


What should you pack for a one year trip around the world? Have a pick at our packing tips HERE 

 

 Two of the students during afternoon classes at school in Arusha, Tanzania 

 

 

AFTERNOON CLASSES

 

After the first two weeks and talking to other volunteers, we preferred to concentrate our efforts in the afternoon classes for adults, teaching foreign languages like Spanish and English or other useful skills such as CV and Cover Letter writing or tour guiding. This was not an easy task as it might sound, as many adults came sporadically to lessons or arrived extremely late (even two hours after the start of the lesson!) so again we felt very frustrated and not very respected in our work.

 

Want to know more about our story and volunteering around the world? Read more about us HERE 

 

 Kilimanjaro view at sunrise from Mount Meru Summit (Tanzania)

 

 

NO SAFARI? HAKUNA MATATA!

 

Our volunteering experience was probably also ruined by a couple of negative episodes as we tried to go on short safaris in Tanzania’s national parks – the first time our guide, recommended by our host, for the Mount Meru trek ran away with our money (an important sum by the way) and the second time the agency cancelled our trip twice unless we were prepared to spend more money for a longer trip. Our host tried to help in both cases – he booked us on another trip for Mount Meru so we succeded to go in the end and he took us to the police to denounce the guide who stole our money. As for the second episode we got our money back from the agency, however, no formal excuses followed, which was extremely rude and not professional at all. I am not even listing other minor negative episodes where locals tried to get more money out of us when we tried to buy food or photocopies or the bus fare or even to make our laundry.

 

Want to know more about our story and volunteering around the world? Read more about us HERE 

 

 New backpacks for these cuties at Tanzania Children Support School, Arusha (Tanzania) 

 

 

THIS IS TANZANIA

 

As all Tanzanian use to say, “this is Tanzania” and this is the way they deal with things every day – life is already difficult, plus widespread corruption and a distorted way of seeing foreigners as wealthy and rich, generate constant conflict and problems. We made huge efforts to accept things as they are in Tanzania, however, this time, I guess I can say we suffered from cultural shock in more than one case.

 

 Sugar and Porridge for the school for 2 months, Arusha (Tanzania) 

 

 

We always keep our door open for new projects and ideas – we’ve been already volunteering and travelling in Nepal, Philippines, Malaysia, Tanzania, Uganda and we are currently in South America - stay tuned for more!

 

As our motto says: we travel, we learn, we grow.

 

 

 

 

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