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Frontier

An excellent experience I would recommend to anyone. Good value for money, welcoming staff and volunteers, fantastic location. Anyone looking to make a difference volunteering on either terrestrial or marine projects should seriously consider this project.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Mar 2, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
8

Frontier

I first found this program when I was searching for gap year programs online. It was advertised as a diving course which was one out of the two main reasons (working with whale sharks being the other) that I signed up for it in the first place. Later, once I had paid tuition and all the fees that were somewhat sprung on me it was brought to my attention through an email with the project's coordinator that diving was not part of my specific program. I would have to pay extra if I wanted to participate in diving. This was a very unwelcome surprise. I didn't have much choice but to continue with my plans though considering that I had already paid my full tuition. I choose to not participate in the diving in the end. The information given for preparing for the trip and what was needed was limited. I had to ask quite a bit of questions because the information given was often vague and confusing. Once getting there I quickly became accustomed to life around camp. It is very simple. I knew that coming into this and I found no major issues with it but anyone who chooses to do Frontier Tanzania should be aware and prepared for the simple life. You will be eating beans and rice or rice and beans everyday for lunch and bread that we baked the night before for every breakfast. Dinner is a little more varied. There is a very limited supply of electricity. The people here are all very relaxed and it's best to give yourself away to island time while here. I did get to see a number of whale sharks (I couldn't be happier) while here and helped out with other projects (terrestrial and marine.) Schooling is mostly memorisation. Life here is generally slow and easy going while we aren't doing activities relating to our own projects. You'll get a lot of time to read, play cards, and just hang out with your fellow volunteers and staff. Tanzania has a large Muslim population so girls please bring clothing that goes past the knees (or buy a sarong here.) Bug repellant is gold here. Bring more than you think that you will need.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Feb 28, 2015
Overall:
7
Support:
6
Value:
6

Imire: Rhino and Wildlife Conservation

I am a sixty year old retired attorney, and I was looking for a volunteer program that focused on endangered animals. A friend of mine, also a retired attorney, had participated in similar programs over the past few years. She located the Imire program on-line, and I stumbled upon the video, "There's a rhino in my house." When the two of us saw the video, about a baby rhino being raised by the founders of the program because his mother was killed by poachers, we were hooked. We both have had experiences raising wild orphaned animals, as adults and as children, since we both come from families who respected and loved animals. After all, who could love and cherish wild animals more than these founders, who were raising a rhino, a warthog and a hyena all at once, because the animals were orphaned?

My friend and I spent two weeks at Imire, performing various jobs such as repairing wash-outs in the road (as ex-attorneys, we were thrilled to be part of what we called a "chain gang"), pulling down unsafe watchtowers, removing old fencing, and constructing new platforms needed to climb upon elephants. (Although a program to raise endangered black rhinos, Imire is also the home for 5 elephants.)

Tatenda, the star of "There's a rhino in my house," was housed in a "boma" next to the volunteer house. He is a strapping seven-year-old black rhino, but still enjoys human company. My trusty travelling companion and I would often pull up chairs in the evening and talk about various world problems with him, which would often result in an ear and neck massage for Tatenda.

We also spent a lot of time with four of the elephants (the fifth appeared to be imprinted on buffaloes, so ignored us and the other elephants.) We cleaned their nests each morning, trundling countless wheelbarrows full of elephant manure away. (Being avid gardeners, my trusty companion and I excel at manure trundling.) We were also able to help train one of the elephants, and of course play with them, which consisted of swimming with the elephants.

I never tired of seeing the elephants. Each sighting was magical, since they are such majestic creatures and look like they are moving in slow motion. One evening, while walking Tatenda home with his guard/handler, I glimpsed the elephants and their handlers coming through the woods behind us. Walking between a seemingly contented rhino and four elephants made everything right with the world.

I was also very taken with the group of women who worked at the primary and secondary schools at Imire. These women were teachers and administrators,who devoted themselves to the students and school by working all day and then sewing at night to raise money for the school. They also purchased a drink, like our "ensure," to give the children before they left school, since some families could not afford to pack a lunch. Even though living in the most overwhelming poverty, these children appeared to be happy. It made me feel ashamed of my own privileged lifestyle.

I was never bored at Imire and felt no desire during my two weeks to leave and go somewhere else.

I also failed to mention that I suffer from Parkinson's. My husband was afraid that I might become a target for muggers, etc., because at times my disability is very apparent. However, quite the opposite occurred. I was "targeted" by the kindness of the people around me, even strangers who rushed to help if I had a medication brown-out and fell or became very stiff. Zimbabwe is a nation of care-takers. My greatest wish is to return to Zimbabwe and Imire again some day.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Zimbabwe
Posted: Feb 26, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I’ve been working for Frontier for a month as the Marine Research Officer and I’m loving every minute. The people on camp are great and the location we are in is fantastic! We carry out baseline surveys on the local reefs, mangroves, and seagrass meadows to monitor for any change in reef health or species diversity. The data we collect is then used to produce eight science reports a year on our findings as well as numerous other articles written with results from side projects. All the volunteers on the project help gather the data and everybody helps out around camp. The living conditions on camp are very basic with long drop toilets and outdoor showers but it is nice to get back to basics and live without the luxuries of home, it really makes you appreciate what you’ve got.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Feb 23, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I had just completed my degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology and I decided to go to Belize to try and gain some field experience to improve my CV. And I'm so glad I did.. Belize has some really successful marine reserves and it was inspiring to see the contrast between reefs within the reserves and outside. I learnt how to survey fish, corals, seagrass and mangroves as well as getting experience teaching fish identification to the high school kids.

We did all this whilst living in at a camp on the northside of Island Caye Caulker, which is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. However, I feel like people should be warned it's no five star accommodation, in fact its not even a 1 star, as everyone sleeps in a hammock in a shed, your constantly being bitten by sandflies or mossies and there's no internet or running water. So you only get the internet around 2 or 3 times a week when everyone goes into town and you shower using a bucket full of rain water! But now I miss my hammock and I miss showering with rain water! Plus, from the camp pier I saw Bottlenose Dolphins swimming just 2m away from the pier, we would constantly spot the Southern Stingrays, Nurse Sharks and we even got to see the Spotted Eagle Rays jumping right out of the water. So if you can handle the sometimes overwhelming amount of bites then you'll get the opportunity to see some spectacular wildlife.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Feb 22, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8

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