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ELI volunteers bathing the elephants ELI volunteers bathing the elephants

Community Development Projects in Uganda

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

ELI Abroad Youth Initiative program review - excellent

I participated in ELI’s Youth Initiative program in the summer of 2015. I have to say, it was a great experience. It more than met my expectations.
Michael Kaidihwa’s family hosted me and were very accommodating. They could provide me with plenty of information concerning customs and culture. They were always friendly and made me feel at home. The food they prepared for me and the volunteers was always great as well, taking into account our tastes, and at the same time encouraging us to try new foods. The room provided was simple and clean. It was adequately comfortable for the 5 weeks I spent there, living with other volunteers.
The free time at the weekends is beneficial to visit other places in Uganda, such as the river Nile in the nearby town Jinja, or even Safari. Keep in mind there are people in need there. Weekdays are spent working.
The work consisted of teaching in a school and a skill centre (a local organisation which fights unemployment). The school hosted us as teachers had around 300 pupils and about 10 members of staff. Both the students and teachers welcomed us warmly and helped us help them.
I find that reviews are more valuable when some difficulties are pointed out. It’s difficult to prepare for Uganda. Vaccinations take about a month cover and malaria medicine must to adjusted to (if taking doxycycline, it can make you nauseous, take before eating and walk after). Also, keep in mind, the heat can make you exhausted. Beware of culture shock not only when you arrive but also to your home country.
My trip with ELI Abroad taught me many valuable lessons on this trip. For example, I believe that you cannot truly understand the needs of others until you experience it yourself. It takes going somewhere to become conscious of the situation.
This program is great for people with some travelling experience or the very experienced. I still stay in contact with the people I met over there and plan to return in the near future. I would like to thank ELI Abroad helping me with my placement over there, and I have since then decided to become a qualified teacher!