Rachael T. – Care in Tanzania
I spent a month in Arusha, Tanzania during December 2016. The reason I decided to volunteer was because I did it before in Asia and it has always been a passion of mine. I chose Tanzania because it looked beautiful and it is one of the safest African countries.
Arriving in Tanzania
When I first arrived in Tanzania I had just been on a 30-hour plane trip from Australia and I was exhausted. The change in temperature struck me quickly, causing me to become quite overwhelmed. However, once I met one of the Projects Abroad staff members all my nerves quickly calmed down. He bought me to my host family and explained everything I needed to know about living there, which was very helpful as the host family spoke limited English.
On my second day in Tanzania, I was picked up by another one of the Projects Abroad staff. He took me to visit my placement which was an orphanage called Aston Vision. He then showed me how to use the local transport, how to exchange money and how to get data on my phone. My first impressions of Tanzania were amazing. Although the culture is very different to my own I did not experience a big culture shock. I think the thing that helped this was that I had done research and received information from Projects Abroad about Tanzanian culture which helped prepare me.
The family I stayed with were so welcoming and did everything in order to make sure I felt comfortable and at home in their house. I shared a room with another volunteer and we shared our own bathroom. The room had everything we needed from mosquito nets to hot water. As I am vegetarian the family always made sure that there was food for me to eat which mostly involved rice, potato, curry stew and vegetables – it was delicious.
My Care placement
My placement at the orphanage was my favourite aspect of the trip. The children at the orphanage are all extremely open and fun to be around. An average day at the orphanage would involve teaching an English, math, science or art class from 9 to11:30 am. I found that the academic level of the children differed depending on the child and often two different activities were given to ensure that all the children were able to keep up. After class, the kids would have approximately one hour to play outside on the playground while the volunteers cook porridge for lunch or played games with the kids. After the porridge was ready I would help serve it to the children and wash the dishes when they were finished. After school was finished for the day meaning volunteers had the option of going home or staying to play with the children.
Free time in Tanzania
My free time in Tanzania was spent exploring Arusha, swimming and shopping at the local markets. Every Thursday night Projects Abroad organised a social dinner for all the volunteers which was a great way to meet the others and make plans to hang out. One weekend I went with two other volunteers to the hot spring which was a lot of fun. I also went on a safari and visited a Maasai village which I thoroughly enjoyed.
My biggest tip to other volunteers is to fully immerse yourself in the Tanzanian lifestyle, try everything, be open to the culture, try to learn Swahili, get to know the locals and socialise with other volunteers in order to make the most of your time there.
The one thing I miss the most about Tanzania is the beautiful children from the orphanage so to other volunteers - make sure you spend as much time as possible with them because I can guarantee you’ll fall in love with them like I did.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Program Advisors.