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Awesome, Life Changing Experience in Tanzania with help2kids
Submitted by Niall Gavin - Maynooth University | January 18, 2018
Help2kids, without a doubt, has the right aim and goals in mind when it comes to supporting children in Tanzania and Malawi. I'll say why it is a perfect organisation to support and volunteer with and why i would recommend anyone looking to experience a new view on life should come to Tanzania with help2kids. After volunteering in Tanzania, without hesitation and immediately, I made the decision to return and also volunteer in Malawi this summer. However, at the beginning, as i was leaving my home country Ireland, i have to say i hadn't had much of an idea what i was going into. Sure, i knew somewhat what the organisation was about and obviously knew where i was going. But by the end, i realised 'knowing' is completely different to 'experiencing' and 'feeling'. The main factor that made me decide to volunteer with this organisation, at first, was really its title 'help2kids' and the information on the programs that allowed me to get involved and experience children's and adult education and the children's support services there. The new decision to return to Tanzania and volunteer with help2kids in Malwai is much more than that now.
I went to Tanzania alone and after the first day, i felt i was at home. Why? Because, sure i was provided with comfortable accommodation (the Friendly Gecko), bedroom and living room, but what was more was because of the people i was sharing this accommodation and experience with. I was warmly treated, supported and welcomed by the volunteer coordinator who i can now call a close friend. I shared my room with a member of staff of help2kids who i can now call a brother. Also, the caretakers of the house were more than welcoming and trusting, keeping the house perfectly homelike, completely safe and cool for anyone wishing to come abroad and stay. I quickly bonded with my fellow volunteers who were sharing this experience with me. We understood each other. That being said, i was the only Irish person and the only volunteer who's native language was English, which makes how i quickly felt at home all the more amazing and surprising. Nonetheless, everyone i met had more than sufficient English skills to communicate with me, even the lovely children, with many thanks to help2kids. Also, as well as my fellow volunteers, I had time to get to know many of the staff working for help2kids and nothing convinced me of how trustworthy the organisation was more than how welcoming, committed and well intentioned they were.
Its also important, no matter where you go, to be kept busy and have fun. Volunteering at the Bajeviro primary school and making English conversation with the locals at the Kunduchi English corner taught me a lot of lessons and provided me with a lot of opportunities. First, i learned that good teaching comes with good character. The teachers and workers at these schools not only made me feel warm and comfortable and became awesome friends, they also proved that being a popular teacher and getting on well with the children/students, makes coming to school a desire. The most important thing for them was getting the students attending and enjoying school. That is the most important step in education which i think Bajeviro school, Kunduchi day care and English corner, without a doubt, had mastered and which, many schools in the developed world can learn from. Second, i was given the opportunity to teach and assist teaching English and Maths. The interesting thing here is that i didn't need to speak Swahili to be able to teach English and Maths. Teaching basic things like nouns, verbs and tenses, adjectives and adverbs was very fun because it was simple for me and fun to attempt to explain. It was also nice to provide some English teaching support to some of the teachers. Third, It was also lovely to learn their language of Swahili and learning it taught me how beautiful a language can be. Fourth, not only was there such positive spirit in singing every so often but there was also a lot of positive vibe in dancing with the children and teachers. Of course, volunteers don't have to teach but they can assist and learn about what the education system is like.
At the Kunduchi English corner, i was given the opportunity to make general English conversation and teach some English such as the word 'awesome' with some of local adults. These conversations were simple but very effective for leaning English. We talked about subjects and topics such as education, politics, love and friendship. What made these conversations really fun was that, sure i was teaching some basic and complicated English words in English but they often turned into funny but heated debates. What was more important and lovely, however, was that these people became friends to me and the rest of the volunteers, no matter how different some of our views were. We were different and come from completely different places but the feeling of friendship and love was common and similar.
After teaching at the school everyday, i also had the opportunity to visit the children's home where some children lived and were looked after. I can honestly say, i had just as much fun as the children did playing games, chasing and chatting with each other. The caretakers at the children's home who gave such love and attention to the children were also very welcoming and kind. I spent a lot of time with the children here and got to know some of them as friends as we talk. Myself and the other volunteers also had the opportunity to host a movie night for them at the Friendly Gecko and we even attended a communion for some of them. It was interesting to experience such a communion with such a different culture.
Travelling from one place to the other was also very fun and fascinating as a volunteer. Of course, it wouldn't have been easy if it weren't some of my fellow, experienced volunteers going to the same places as me. I quickly got used to taking a lift off different Bajajis and bus's and to the currency. Experiencing the transport system in Tanzania was fascinating. However, there was a fair amount of walking to do from time to time. But that didn't stop me from keeping my eyes open, looking all around me, observing how different general life is. I took some trips with my fellow volunteers into highly populated and/or historic towns as we were guided by my new friends from the English corner. Again, these trips kept my eyes busy and fixed on anything that was different. But seeing such inequality while travelling was concerning. Myself and other volunteers also made some trips to nice hotels with outdoor pools and bars located on the beach. Although visiting these nice hotels was relaxing and enjoyable, it was uncomfortable to know the local people surrounding the area were unable to access them.
Although i knew there was inequality before i arrived, i had never experienced it this much from one end of the perspective. However, one thing i can't ignore is how lucky people there are to have each other and how lucky the children i met are to have quality and progressing education and health services provided by help2kids. Its also hard to ignore how open these kind of opportunities to have different experiences are to me. This is an experience one should try fit into life at least once.
Program: Volunteer with Children in Tanzania
Fulfill your dream with help2kids!
Submitted by EE - ZHAW | September 26, 2017
I had the chance to volunteer in Tanzania with the organization help2kids. It was really easy for me to decide that I wanted to go to Tanzania. All my questions were answered quickly and in a helpful way. I didn't have any doubts before going abroad and I was right. Everything went smoothly and I was welcomed friendly at the guest house. Having many other volunteers from different countries around me was really helpful for getting around in Dar es Salaam and getting to the projects and back with public transportation. There are different projects you can take part in. In the morning, I was working with children at a Daycare center teaching them basic English and helping the teacher with taking care of them. In the afternoon, I was teaching English with other volunteers and teachers to adults who were mostly fishermen. The locals are very friendly and grateful for any help we can give them. They appreciate everyone and everything which is why, becoming friends and feeling like a family, was natural. I was sleeping in a dormitory with other volunteers. The beds are all equipped with mosquito nets so you don't have to bring one with you. The "mamas" are very kind and really good cooks. The guest house is really big so that you can have some me-time whenever you want but still enjoy the time with other volunteers and staff.
I enjoyed every single minute in Tanzania and would recommend the organization help2kids to everyone. The projects are very transparent and you know what you are working on. Tanzania is also a very safe country, despite some reports on the internet. Everyone is very kind and ready to help. I always felt that my work is appreciated which made me feel very emotional when having to say goodbye. It is definitely a life experience anyone should try out. I'm hoping to go back next year for a longer period of time. Last time was the first time I took part in a project abroad. I wished I could've stayed longer since time passes by really fast. For anyone who's going abroad as a volunteer for the first time, I would recommend to stay longer because you will never regret it. On the contrary, you will be really sad for leaving so soon.
Generally speaking, I think help2kids is offering really good projects to volunteers. The best part, in my opinion, is that yes, volunteers are needed but they make sure that locals can also work on the projects which helps the economy of Tanzania as well.
So... Don't think further and go to Tanzania with help2kids!
Program: Volunteer with Children in Tanzania