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Frontier

I spent 3 weeks of July 2014 volunteering on Frontier's Forest Conservation project and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. The project was relevant to me as I currently am studying for a Biology degree at Nottingham and am interested in pursuing a career in conservation in the future. The project enabled me to gain experience in the area and gain an insight into what it would be like working in such an environment long term.
Sufficient information was provided pre-departure by the headquarters in London and Project Manager Chris was quick and efficient at responding to queries regarding the project via Facebook. A group Facebook page was organised for volunteers pre-departure in order to exchange travel information and correspond with one another beforehand. I found this particularly useful as I met people to travel with. This was something I felt was important having not traveled so far alone before!
On arrival at Nosy be we were warmly welcomed by Frontier staff and then escorted to Hellville and then onto the beach camp. Again we were met by more staff and volunteers who helped us get our bags inside and showed us around the camp. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and we soon got to know one another. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the facilities on the camp. Having being told that conditions would be basic, I was surprised to find sleeping arrangements were spacious, there were running showers and there was often other options to rice and beans including pancakes, steak night and the opportunity to eat out in the village twice a week.
A typical day was busy, often with 3-4 walks around various sites in the forest each day. Once our bird and reptile ID tests as well as lemur observation tests were passed we were then able to begin taking data. Every day was different with so much spectacular wildlife to see. The staff were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about what they were doing and were extremely helpful throughout the trip. Evenings were spent doing night walks, eating out in the nearby village or around camp with Friday night being party night! Free time during the trip could be spent snorkeling or relaxing and Saturday (day off) could be spent going into Hellville or once in a while visiting other nearby islands such as Nosy Komba or Tanikely.
Overall, I could not recommend choosing Frontier's projects strongly enough. Fellow volunteers were passionate about the work carried out and all the staff were helpful, cheerful and enthusiastic throughout the time I was there. I would certainly consider doing such a project again in the future (for a longer duration!) and will look to pursue a career in conservation in the future.Thank you to all the staff at Frontier Madagascar who made this trip such a great experience!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Jul 29, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Frontier Madagascar enabled me to kick start my primatology career after six months of working with them and my project on Black Lemurs. The opportunities I got to take in regards to my research allowed me to take it to places beyond what an honors degree would allow and further into the realms of practicing actual conservation. The people I got to work with were always keen to participate in helping me with my research and embark on all related missions with amazing passion which inspired me to want to push myself further into more conservation and research goals. If you are excited about reptiles, birds, amphibians. lemurs or even insects I would thoroughly recommend you embark on a journey much like mine and see how much of a changed and more experienced person you come out as in the end.

Program:
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Jul 29, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

WONDERFUL!!! I stayed in Nabbingo Village for 6 weeks with the Lukwago family (Herman and Annie) and they were SO great! They are such hardworking, caring, unique people and I am so glad that I got to stay with them. Everyone was extremely welcoming and hospitable, and the project was very flexible. The accommodations were perfect and the food was always amazing! Lots of meat, beans, rice, and fresh fruit! I really enjoyed the language and culture program with Richard, the school's headmaster, the first week I was there. It was really helpful and super fun! I taught English and literacy at Herman's school, Golden Hearts Junior School, to primary 1 and 2 students. The other teachers were very nice and extremely professional, helpful, and experienced. All the kids were great to work with! I always felt included in the school's activities, which was really great. I also got the opportunity to go to a local nonprofit hospital and meet people who were affected by HIV/AIDS, which is something that I've wanted to do for a long time. The experience really helped me understand the culture and nature of HIV/AIDS here. Herman and everyone there were very flexible and I had a lot of free time to explore Uganda. I got to go to the source of the River Nile, Jinja Town, and other wonderful places, even though I was on a tight budget. The entire experience was unforgettable and life-changing, and I truly hope that I will be able to come back soon. If you have any questions about the project, please email me at annie.ashmore@gmail.com and I would be more than happy to answer them!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Uganda
Posted: Jul 29, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

The first couple of days are quite difficult because you are adjusting to all new things. It is helpful that there are other volunteers there that have been through the process and are already adjusted to the Nepali lifestyle and ready to help, but you really have no idea what to expect even after reading about the trip, so it was hard to adjust to everything right in the beginning. Once you get the hang of it, time flies so quickly but the first few days are quite slow and a little confusing.
One of my favorite memories of the trip was watching a Caesarian section take place. I've shadowed an OBGYN in the States saw a normal delivery but watching this surgery was a completely different experience. Going into surgeries you already have to be open minded because third world medicine is completely different from what we are accustomed to. Then, the doctor warned us that this would be a difficult birth because the woman was overweight and the baby was on the bigger side. As we were watching the birth, it seemed like the baby would never come out, they were pulling the head and pushing the feet and nothing was working. Finally they pulled out birthing forceps and seemed to be yanking the baby out. I genuinely thought that the baby was not going to come out alive. It was so harsh that the volunteer that had come with me to watch the surgery with me almost fainted. Then finally watching the baby girl come out and hearing her scream as they were cleaning her off made the whole surgery worth it. She was the sweetest little girl. Her skin was pink and wrinkly and had a very loud strong cry. We came back from the surgery and were gushing about the whole experience to everyone in the volunteer house.
Although I was warned to wear modest clothing, I didn't realize how hot it would be. I came in the summer monsoon season and I had bought some pants and capris, but I think the best type of clothing for this trip would be light cotton and loose clothing. I bought some of the Nepali pants, also known as Harem pants, there that I would wear almost every day and the boys bought a lot of cotton light shirts. Also, it rained a couple of times so I would definitely bring a good raincoat, because it rains quite heavily during monsoon season.
There is a grocery store right by the house where you can by almost anything you need. If you are into hiking, there are some amazing hikes in Nepal that you can do, and you should definitely leave some time for that. Another place I recommend is Chitwan, they have a national park there that serves as an elephant reserve. It's a wonderful experience.
The coordinator helped with anything we needed and was present for any help we required. The girls that live at the house are so extremely helpful and kind. They take care of all your needs and treat you like a part of their family.
Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to Nepal and would definitely recommend it to anyone that is looking for a trip to combine sightseeing and volunteering. Working with the Clinic is a shadowing program and you don't get to do any hands on work, but there are other opportunities to work at the farm owned or to go to a more rural city and do some more hands on work. The shadowing at the clinic is great because you get to have a front row seat during some extremely interesting surgeries.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Nepal
Posted: Jul 28, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

When I first arrived in Quito I was completely surprised. It was my first time out of the country and I literally knew no one in Quito and my Spanish was not that great. I felt lonely for the first week or two but after I got to know the other volunteers things totally changed. We would hang out multiple times per week outside of volunteering, and we also met volunteers from other organizations. The social life in Quito was great! The volunteering was also very eye-opening. The medical center is so much different from one in the United States and it was incredible to be able to volunteer there and gain a broader view of the world.
The accomodation was great. Three meals were prepared every day so I did not have to worry about cooking. I lived in two places. The first was with a single older lady and she was a great host. The second was a family and they were one of the nicest families I have ever met! I could not have asked for better accommodations.
My favorite memory of the medical center is when two interns and I walked around the neighborhood looking for children who had not been vaccinated. If we found children without the necessary vaccinations we would do it right there in the street. From traveling, my favorite memory is going to montanita and puerto lopez with two other volunteers and an Ecuadorian. We surfed in montanita, watched the world cup final and then headed to puerto lopez to do a tour of Isla de la Plata.
There are a few things that really surprised me. First, the people here generally have less money than people from the United States, but they seem to be happier in general. Second, the people here are incredibly nice. Multiple times when I needed help, I would ask a random person and they would go completely out of their way to help me. At the health center, patient confidentiality is not very strict which was interesting. Histories were taken in the presence of other people which would never happen in the United States.
The local coordinator was fantastic! She made it very clear that if I ever needed anything, all I had to do was ask. She did everything she could to make sure that I had everything that I needed. She also made sure that I was happy in my project. For the first three weeks, I did not really enjoy my project so she let me change to the health center. When I first arrived I did not live with her, but with another lady. About halfway through the project it was just me and the host mom in the house. I asked to switch locations to be closer to the other volunteers and she happily let me move to her house. She was great!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Jul 28, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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