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Frontier

Having been to Mafia before I was apprehensive to come back. However seeing how the project has developed has been great. A much stronger collaboration with conservation organisations such as M.I.M.P and Sea Sense shows the lengths that people go to to ensure that Frontier contributes to the conservation of the environment.
Life on the Frontier camp is a good change compared to living at home, always being outside is a refreshing change compared to the average indoor lifestyle. Food on camp is varied and so tasty and is much needed after an active day diving.
The projects which are run cover a wide range of areas. The terrestrial and marine projects survey multiple sites across the island while the teaching program helps to teach English to the locals.
There is a great variety of dive sites which home a huge variety of wildlife which is a pleasure to see. Being able to collaborate with the Marine Park and go outside the bay to survey sites was a privilege, the change in habitat compared to the inner bay is good to see.
All of the staff be it Scientific or Teaching are all great at what they do, being an intern I was able to get to know all the people on camp really well and I've not met a group of nicer people and I'm going to be really sad to leave.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Aug 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

For the past two years I have been researching for the perfect program and organization to volunteer abroad. I finally made the decision to travel to Cambodia as it is one of the poorest countries in Asia in need of English speaking volunteers. This trip turned out to be everything I expected it to be. The Projects Abroad staff was helpful and available every step of the way, the volunteer apartments were comfortable and very clean, the food was delicious, and every individual I met while volunteering was grateful for the work I and other volunteers were doing. In just two weeks it felt as if I completed a month’s worth of things on the Khmer Project. I not only was able to help a family in the rice fields and teach English in a school; but, I also learned about Cambodian culture through making a traditional Khmer puppet, cooking traditional Cambodian food, learning traditional Khmer dancing, learning the basics of the Khmer language, visiting the national museum, visiting the ancient temples in Siem Reap, visiting a floating village, meditating in a Buddhist temple in Phnom Penh, and visiting the areas of Cambodia that were used during the devastating Khmer Rouge. All of which was covered in my expenses. The experience was life changing in the way I was able to make friends with volunteers from all over the world, learn about Cambodia first-hand from my Cambodian coordinator who was with me every day, and most importantly how I was immediately exposed to the unfortunate circumstances of this very poor country by teaching young children and simply travelling around the country.
Volunteering is the best way to travel and the only way to truly understand and empathize with the inequalities of this world. As a student studying to become a social worker, this experience gives me an advantage on my resume, as well as the confidence to broaden my career goals to a global level. I left Cambodia an even greater advocate for change and I am already planning my next volunteer trip with Projects Abroad as my trip would not have been what it was without them!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Aug 30, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Ever since being a child, the underwater world has fascinated me, I have only ever been as deep as my snorkel would allow me so the thought of diving to 30m sounded not only appealing but thrilling. Learning to dive on a small African Island, interacting with the local people, participating in scientific work and leaving Europe for the first time in my life were all factors which drew me to choose marine conservation in the Mafia Islands. In terms of activities, I was genuinely amazed. I had not expected to participate and experience the things I did. For example, one Sunday we embarked on a morning boat ride to Juani Island and followed a tour guid across the island to a beautiful open but rough sea. We were quickly greeted with squeals as baby turtles started to poke their heads out of the sand and scramble, one by one, down the runway (which had been cleared by the organisation that led our tip). It amazed me how each of them instinctively knew they must make a wild dash for the sea. They had only just been born! We watched some turtles struggle and fall into sand craters but finally each little soft grey turtle made it into the sea. 100% success rate. It was easy to be carried away by such an experience, when the last turtles arrived at the breaking waves, it was only natural to follow them into the water; still fully clothed and in possession of my digital camera! Almost everyone was in the water, and having lost sight of the last turtle we ventured to steep, foamy waves that were breaking on a coral bar further out to sea. It was immense fun being thrown around by the waves and jumping to greet each one. The entertainment continues, on another Sunday a group of us hired motorbikes and took a spectacularly beautiful journey across the island. Utende is essentially a dead end at the south east tip of the Island and as a passenger I marveled as the island unfolded beneath my eyes. We crossed the whole Island, passing through villages, each one completely unique in their infrastructure and character. Vibrant patches of colours from a distance would turn into communities joining for either prayers of form groups of children walking from school. We had to leave our paved road early on in the journey, the only tarmac road on the island was the one which linked Utende to Kilindoni (the main city of the island where our internal flight landed), and take to the dirt tracks. It was an adventure in itself, exploring different areas of our island and being thrown around at each bump and tossed upwards when hitting a ditch! I almost couldn't believe it was real when we heard monkeys calling in the trees. We parked our bikes and after frantically searching the tree tops, our gaze met a small monkey peering down at us. We concluded our outbound journey when we reached the lighthouse in the north. Our group were so excited by this sight, after hours of biking on sandy, rocky terrain, we had traversed our island.
Generally, the locals in the nearby village were warm and welcoming, when we told them we were part of Frontier, they nodded in approval and I felt a sense of pride. It was evident Frontier has worked hard over the years to maintain a strong relationship with the local people. This had been achieved through conservation measures, primary, secondary and adult teaching and above all respecting muslim traditions and rituals. I was lucky to have experienced the delights of the Mafia Island with the people I did alongside the wonderful memories we share.I absolutely loved my time in Africa, I cannot comment on other Frontier projects but it was really quite unique the way in which we had such a strong bond with the local community. I believe over the years Frontier have made a real effort to maintain such a strong relationship. The lady who cooked our meals and the two men who operated the boat were all locals. We were delivered rice, beans and flour in huge sacks from local villagers. I felt that the camp I lived in was not at all an imposition on the local community but rather an friendly interaction. There was something strangely satisfying about sorting through beans in the morning and throwing away the ones with holes as opposed to supermarket GM products packed in layers of packing. Without a doubt, I recommend to anyone looking for an adventure and a break from western society to seriously consider doing a Frontier project on your own. Discover yourself and a remarkable area of the world.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Aug 30, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Beacon of Hope Uganda

I was in Uganda and worked with Isaac and stayed with his family and I would like to make it clear, he is the best host. The work is super meaningful, Isaac is a family man and he has to work for his family, so don’t expect him to be available like your bodyguard every day, it’s the reason he assigns counterparts upon arrival. Lets agree that truly even though we make payments to live at his home, managing people from different backgrounds, of different ages at your home isn’t an easy task, we should respect and appreciate his effort. He started the organization at only 19yr and for the last 9 years the organization is growing steadily with very limited resources.

We pay 500 USD a month or 300 USD for two weeks; this covers food, accommodation, laundry, staff support and project support! How much did you expect such amount to go, we should appreciate that and today the organization has visible development projects, like the Hope centre which will have a clinic, youth enterprising unit, women enterprising, sponsoring over 100 orphans and agricultural projects and water sources. Very few people raise extra bucks for this project as a donation, many of us, just pay up the program fee mentioned above and expect everything to move on the same fee and the young man has proved it’s possible to make developmental projects on such an amount.

When you go to Africa don’t expect everything to move according to plan, I have found this in so many manuals for volunteering, always go with limited expectations and RESPECT the local culture and way of doing things. Lets us also avoid our western way of doing things, let Africans come up with solutions to their problems; this is what exactly Beacon of Hope is doing. Isaac is a Christian, but BoHU is a non religious organization, and welcomes every Ugandan in need, it’s very clear since its formation.

Lets us also stop the wrong mentality that things are cheap in Africa, this is wrong, when you reach there, you will have hundreds of worthless money. We should not be judgmental, and we should appreciate those few individuals who have stood out to make a difference, before judging Isaac, ask yourself how many people’s lives have I touched, stopping people to go to Uganda helping the projects, then think about the 300 children supported by volunteers who appreciate the project Isaac started, think about the widows, raped and defiled girls supported, Isaac has over 1000 people appreciating his assistance in Uganda, how about you, how far did you expect your money to go? I don’t support misappropriation of funds, but when I reached Uganda and see what the young man has set up with almost nothing, I knew he was a HERO. He is a human, he has his flaws as many of us, but I ask people not to paint a picture of him which is not real, visit Beacon of Hope Uganda facebook page, see daily updates of work done, you will understand, I know he is dark skinned but not as dark hearted as some paint it. Actually he is far more than many of us. Lastly when going to Uganda, remember you are not there to help Isaac but the community, be part of the community, don’t try to be part of Isaac’s life, if you loved the work and the people, I guess 70% of your goal is fulfilled, its the aim of volunteering, we don’t volunteer to help program operators, but the people they support. I am available joshuaskyer@hotmail.com

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Uganda
Posted: Aug 29, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I had once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in Cuzco Peru for a month, working at the orphanage and being there for a month you get very connected to the girls and get very connected to the city because of how different it is. You realize how beautiful the simpler things in life are, the local ABV coordinator made everything really easy for me to acclimate into Peru. I know Spanish from high school, but being down there for a month and immersing myself in the culture was really great for my Spanish. You pick up quickly on the language and for myself learning in a classroom isn't the same.
The US abroaderview staff did helped me a lot, any questions I had they would answer me within 24 hours. My mom called and they answered any and all of her questions! I had a few precautions before I actually signed with abroaderview but after talking to them and talking to other ABV volunteers who have gone I realize that this was the right choice for me.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Aug 28, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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