Marie & Kevin, Belgium
My stay in Arusha was very comfortable. The hostel was lovely and had everything I needed as far as food, bedding, showers and clean water. The local stores were great, providing local food but also having a convenience store with options there similar to what I’d get at home. The highlight of my experience when volunteering was the relationships I developed with the kids and the staff and how close we became. The highlight of my experience outside of volunteering was going on weekend trips like safaris. Only advice I have is don’t have set expectations. Keep an open, flexible mind and be prepared for anything. The culture there is very much go with the flow so if you can do that I think you’ll be able to handle anything that happens.
Women's Empowerment Volunteer
I know that my time at the women's shelter would have been a lot harder without Pearl’s support – there were many times when I needed someone to talk to for advice on situations that were arising. It was also great to have the other volunteers in the hostel to talk to about issues, even if their placements weren’t at the women's shelter. Overall, I loved my time at the women's shelter and feel I settled in there very well after a couple of weeks. I went in knowing that I couldn’t help or get to know everyone there so was happy with any small piece of help I could give. I really believe that my time at the women's shelter will help shape the next steps in my life, I felt as though I was thriving there and found work that I really loved doing.
Women's Empowerment Volunteer
I loved my staying in the hostel. The people were so lovely, the atmosphere was so great. I also loved the fact that Emmanuel and Pearl were so involved with everything (the dynamic in the hostel, concerns about the volunteering,…) and that we could say anything to them. They made us feel very comfortable. I had some very lovely moments in the women's shelter but what was the most memorable moment for me was the farewell. I remember waking up on Friday the 26th of July knowing that this would be my last day at the women's shelter. I know I felt very guilty for leaving the girls so early after they had opened up their hearts for me and I felt I wanted to do so much more and that I needed more time.
It’s hard to choose a highlight, because this experience I’ve been through is made of so many little and big highlights. It can be laughs, shared moments, emotions, gratitude, learning, conversations…But if I had to choose one, it would be my last morning at the orphanage, it was a Friday. When I came there, I was not in the same mood as the other days. Each day before, I was determined to do what I came here for, that is to say bring as much as I could to the kids. I would prepare lessons at night, and then give it to them the next day. But while I was on the way to the orphanage on the last day, I had a lot going on I my head, and I already had my throat thickening. On this morning, I realized something, something big, which I didn’t realized before, because I was into doing everything I could to bring to the kids the little knowledge, the few educational methods and tools. I was into the action. But this last day, I was into the emotion and the thinking. When kids were playing outside, I just looked at them, and I tried hard not to cry. They were just here, laughing, playing. The had nothing, but where so full of life and happiness. When it was time for me and Elsa to say goodbye, I had so much emotions going through me that I can’t even describe all of them. The kids hugged us. The kids from the baby class didn’t understand that we wouldn’t come back, thay just waved at us, screaming « goodbye teacher » like everyday. But for the oldest ones, it was not the same. My heart broke when they hugged me. I saw in their eyes that they understood what was going on. Then, time came to say goodbye to the teachers. They said they would miss us, that they enjoyed having us around. One of them took me appart, and said that she was grateful, because according to her I succeed in what I came here to do. She also said that she saw with how much goodwill and kindness I went through it. I couldn’t have wanted to here other words at that time. All of my experience took place in my head. That’s when I realized that all of the people I met there, even kids, maybe more than anyone else, gave me so much more than I gave them. When I say this, I also have a great thought for the people I met at the women shelter. I’m not the same person now, writting this, that I was before. I grew up, I changed. I’m not saying that I’m a better person, I don’t know that. But what I do know is that I’m feeling so much better now. I don’t get stressed or anxious or annoyed by little things anymore. I don’t see things the same way as I used to. I learned to appreciate the most simple moments. I see and find joy in daily stuff. I’ll try my best not to forget what I learned and who I am thanks to these