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Love Volunteers participant with two local kids Love Volunteers participant with two local kids

Teaching and Assisting in Schools in Rwanda

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

Local staff was probably the best part of my Rwandan experience

Thank you so much for all your hard work and all the LOVE you gave to us. The local staff was probably the best part of my Rwandan experience and they took care of us and always supported us. I cannot thank you guys enough!

  • Love Volunteers responded to this review March 30, 2016 at 5:21 PM

    We couldn't agree more about how wonderful the local team in Rwanda are! Thanks for giving them a shout out and for giving your time to help them in their quest to better the lives of local Rwandans.
    We, and they, can't thank volunteers like yourself enough for the contribution you make to these projects.
    The Team @ Love Volunteers

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    2

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    1

Love volunteers misrepresent reality

My boyfriend and I just came back from our volunteering trip in Rwanda. We were really disappointed when we got there because nothing that writes on Love Volunteer website is correct. Well, you could claim it is correct, but the house and community in Rwanda is represented way better than it actually is in many aspects.
Firstly, we got there and the school was almost finishing so we were told we could only SUPERVISE kids while they were doing tests, but that wasn't what we came for--we were not told that school was finishing even though we signed up for teaching program. Then, we were expected to go farming and housebuilding (the programs we did not sign up for and when we told them we came here to teach, they didn't understand what we were saying) every day and carry the heavy bricks for 700 meters even though we had a car. I just could not carry the mud bricks that weighted up to 30kg! We told our host we could use their car to bring many bricks at once and not to carry them one by one in +30 degrees, but they told us we couldn't do that.
In the end, we managed to teach, but just for a few hours. But, everything is unorganised. When we got to the school, our host told us to tell the headmaster what we wanted, and we were unprepared for that because we thought that everything was prearranged. Also, on Love Volunteers website it writes that you volunteer every day from 8 am to 5 pm, which is not true. We volunteered for two hours, then we had couple of hours off and then we volunteered for two hours or so again.
Another thing is that there simply wasn't enough food. Every day there was around 8 of us eating portions of food meant for three people. And it was low calorie food, which you just couldn't eat enough of in order not to feel hungry. We were dizzy and hungry most days, sometimes we even couldn't fall asleep because we were too hungry to do so. For example, one morning for breakfast there were three slices of toast for five of us, and there was no spreading for a few days.
Another surprise was the shower and toilet. From Love Volunteers website we concluded that everything was modern and up to some western standards (because you said on the website that we had wi-fi, kitchen and laundry -- none of which we had btw.), but it wasn't. The shower and the toilet were outside the house, in the back. We were supposed to shower with bucket, and the toilet was a hole in the ground with cockroaches inside of it. Even though you said there was wi-fi, it wasn't working for the whole time we were there. The kitchen consisted of a refrigerator and nothing else. The place where they cooked was outside the house, in the back, on the open. There was no laundry - unless you call washing the clothes in a bucket and then leaving them on the grass to dry laundry. We got our clothes after a few days, having asked for it several times. We got it still wet and stinky from the moisture that didn't go away after washing it. The garbage is situated in the garden. Better said, they use the garden solely for disposing trash - everywhere.
Also, we weren't allowed to sleep in the same room, seclude from the "Christian community" or even hug - which you are supposed to say on Love Volunteers website because it says that couples are allowed.
Our rooms were part of the offices in which they were working.
When we went to a National park, we asked they make us some food for the trip. However, they said that they couldn't do that and that there was no food. And when we told them that we were going to buy the food and cook it ourselves, they said that we were not allowed to use the kitchen to cook.

Apart from all the bad things, there were some good ones as well. Denis, who lives in the house we stayed in, is really the nicest person we ever met. He is always laughing, never sees anything as a problem. We had fun donating goats and had a good time teaching at homework club. Those kids were truly amazing and interested in what we were talking, so we really felt welcomed in the classes we had.

  • Love Volunteers responded to this review March 09, 2016 at 4:18 PM

    Dear Marko and Hana,

    We appreciate you taking the time to provide this feedback and hope to address some of the issues you raise. It's very important that volunteers are mentally prepared before they travel to the developing countries they choose to volunteer in. Reviews such as yours are a huge help in this regard.

    We're sorry to hear that the accommodation and volunteering roles weren't up to your expectations. It's our job to prepare volunteers for their volunteering experience and, as such, we attempt to make it clear in correspondence and our Guidebook that facilities in Rwanda are very basic.

    The partners we work with are underfunded and under-resourced and operating in locations that have only the very basic amenities (which is why they need the help of volunteers such as yourself). Our local teams do their very best to make sure that volunteers are safe and as comfortable as possible but things often do not run smoothly. Even they cannot predict what circumstances will be like when individual volunteers are on placement and we can only ask that volunteers be open-minded, flexible and willing to make the most of the situation.

    It's such a pleasure to hear you say that Denis (our local team member) was "really the nicest person we ever met" and that the "kids were truly amazing". The children, after all, are what this program is all about and we're so pleased we were able to help you help them.

    Thanks again for providing this feedback. We wish you all the best for the future.

    The Team @ Love Volunteers