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Original Volunteers

I volunteered in Morocco for just under 2 weeks and I absolutely loved it!! I would highly recommend Original Volunteers! Its cheap, organised and the staff is friendly & amazing!

Before the volunteering, the original volunteers staff were so friendly went contacted and everything was sorted out way before travelling! I went with a group of friends and we all travelled together and shared the same accommodation (which I recommended).

I enjoyed many of the activities from visiting the orphanage home, visiting the Bani nursery, street kids centre and feeding the homeless in Ramadan . Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. At times, the OV coordinators were a little disorganised but most times it was well run and they did apologise.

The accommodation in Morocco was average, its not the best but it certainly is worth the price you pay! Sharing the house with other volunteers was really nice as you make loads of friends and get to know others well. In terms of shopping, buying food and eating out is very cheap in Morocco, so that would never be a problem. I and the group ate out every night but we had some days where we stayed in and just ate food from the supermarket.

Overall, I would highly recommend travelling to Morocco and volunteering! Its cheap and the culture/tradition is amazing there. People can hassle you in the market to buy their goods, but thats just something which makes Morocco's market unique! Most people are friendly!

You also get to go on great excursions- I visited the Atlas Mountains, Ouzoud waterfall, Zagora desert and the Southern Villages. It was a great experience and I loved it! So thank you OV! :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Aug 12, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

Nakuru Hope

It's really hard to put into words the amazing and life changing experiences I have had at Gabriel school over the past 2 weeks, but I am going to try my best. For years I have wanted to do some voluntary work abroad with children but never had the guts to do it. This year I just decided to be brave and go for it. I looked at many different voluntary organisations, most of them seemed expensive and didn't really stand out to me. I then spoke to a friend who recommended I got in touch with Susan to find out more about Nakuru Hope. I am so glad I did, as from the start Susan was very patient and helpful, I had many questions to ask and she was always very quick at responding to them. After speaking to Susan I quickly realised that this was the project for me and I booked my trip to Nakuru.
As soon, as I got off the plane I was collected by a taxi which had been arranged by Susan. I was then taken to the Niarobi Club Hotel, where I stayed overnight. I was collected in the morning by a man called George (the school often use George to collect volunteers.) I had chosen to visit the Giraffe park and Elephant orphanage, so George took me to visit both of these places before driving down to Nakuru, George was very friendly. As I travelled down to Nakuru we drove past some of the slums. When I saw them it hit me I wasn't at home anymore, and the slums were what many people in Africa were living in. I was fully aware that many people in Africa live in slums, and had seen them many times on T.V. But nothing can actually prepare you for seeing it in real life. When we eventually arrived at Gabriel School I remember thinking oh my god I am actually living in the slums (although I knew that was where I was going, but again nothing really prepares you for it.) When I arrived at Gabriel school I was greeted by one of the teachers. She then took me to the home stay where I was greeted by another volunteer and the housekeeper called Lucy. I was made to feel welcome from the moment I stepped through the doors of the school. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the home stay was, I was expecting it to be very basic but it had everything we needed and more.
For the first few days there was just me and one other volunteer staying at the home stay. I was very grateful for that, as it allowed me to adapt to the different culture. It took a couple of days to get over the culture shock, but I soon realised that I just had to adapt to the African culture otherwise I was not going to get the most out of my experience. Within the first day I was introduced to all the children and teachers, everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I was made to feel like part of the family from the moment I got there. Christopher (the headmaster) was also very welcoming and within the first few days he would often come by to say Hi and see how I was. As I was shown around the classrooms, the children would greet me by singing songs which made me feel so welcome.
Before I even started my trip I was certain that I would feel emotional seeing all the children (especially the ones in the orphanage.) However, I was wrong, I never once felt emotional when spending time with the children. This is because all the children seemed so happy to be both getting an education and feeling safe in the orphanage. When you hear some of the orphans stories it's no wonder they are happy to be living at the orphanage. A place they are loved and have a safe and secure place to live. All the children were so welcoming, the older children loved coming to have a conversation with you (and they spoke very good English). The younger children, also seemed to enjoy my company. They were happy just to hold my hand and just wanted affection. They also liked playing circle games with me and teaching me some of their Swahili songs they like to sing. I enjoyed spending time in the classrooms, I work in a nursery back home so it was very interesting to see how the education differs. I went into class 3 one day where the children were so happy to have me there. They were very eager to ask me questions about England. They were also very keen for me to teach them English, so I spent a short period of time teaching the English class. After that they all made me some beautiful cards which were full of lovely words; there writing and English was amazing. I also enjoyed going into the top class with teacher Gracie, she is a brilliant teacher who is full of energy. She gets the children up singing regularly and keeps the lessons fun but also educational.
I was also lucky enough to visit the farm during my time at the school, Christopher showed us around the farm which is absolutely brilliant. Whilst we were at the farm some of us were helping to build a shed for the cow they are getting, as others were helping to collect the beans ready to take back to the school kitchen. All the food grown on the farm is used to feed the children at the school. Whilst I was at the farm I got the opportunity to speak to Christopher. He was telling me all about the farm and how he hopes that one day in the future he will be able to grow enough food to feed the community as well as the school.
During my time at the school I also got the chance to take part in some home visits with Christopher and another volunteer. This experience was eye opening and really brought to light the harsh reality of what these families are exposed too. The houses we visited were not much bigger than a shed! Inside them there was often a huge mattress that was up against the wall and a small sofa and that was it. The houses were often very dark and had no light, there were usually a big family living in these houses. As we visited the families we took them food and sometimes money. The families seemed very happy to see us and were very welcoming. We walked quite a long way through the slums to visit these different houses. At that point it hit me that this is the walk the children do every day on their own to get to and from school, including the younger children. I also got the chance to go on a house clean, the mother was an alcoholic who seemed to have lost hope. Christopher and Susan wanted us to go and clean the house to show the mother that we still had hope. When we got there the house was filthy so we took everything out and began cleaning the house. The mother was nowhere to be seen and she had left her little boy all on his own, I would say he was about 5-6 years old. The mother had still not returned by the time we had finished the house clean so it was decided that we would take the little boy back to the orphanage with us, feed him and let him have a good night’s sleep. The little boy came with us happily and when he got to the school I remember just watching him as he ran around with the other children looking very happy and content. The mother did not turn up to collect him so he is now living in the orphanage with the other children and seems to be happy and has settled really well.
Christopher and Susan are two of the most incredible and inspirational people I have ever met. We need more people like them in the world as it would make it a much better place. I was lucky enough to spend time with Susan as she was at the school the same time as me, which was brilliant as I learnt so much from her. Susan and Christopher don't just look after the children and community but they also make sure all the volunteers are safe and happy. I was worried at first about not feeling safe out in the slums but having Christopher and Susan around made me feel incredibly protected. Christopher and Susan do not just want to help the children but they also have want to help their community too. Christopher often said that we need to do home visits regularly to ensure that the families are ok, he believes that by visiting the families it can help to give them hope, and show them that people do care. One of the many things I love about this organisation is that it is not just about helping the children, it is also about helping in the community. Thankfully Nakuru have Christopher and Susan, as without the amazing work that these two incredible people do the children at Gabriel’s School and orphanage would not have access to an education, or a loving and caring home. Instead they would be living in the slum somewhere with no prospects or chance of bettering their lives.
I have recently returned home from my adventures and it is proving hard to adjust back into normal everyday life. I never thought I would say this but I am missing the slums and cannot wait to return next year. Since returning home all I have been thinking about is what I can do to help raise money for Gabriel's School.
For anyone who was like me and felt like they could not do this experience alone, trust me you can and once you have done it will change you forever.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Kenya
Posted: Aug 12, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I volunteered with Projects Abroad on their Environmental Conservation project in Thailand for almost 1 month. There are almost no words to describe how incredible that trip was... I have no complaints in any way about the location, the project, the staff or accommodations. While I was there I was certified by the PA staff with my Open Water Diver Certification for scuba diving. We had three dive days a week, and did two dives each of those days (6 dives/week total). These dives were by FAR the most amazing part of the trip. On my very first day, as we were boating out to one of the dive sites I remember expressing my concern to the fellow volunteers and staff that I was worried I wouldn't see a fish when I was diving, and they just laughed! The second I jumped in the water I understood why... the marine life is absolutely incredible. Schools of vibrant fish swam by each second, along with other unique fish - including my favorite, a lion fish. Members of my group also had sea turtle and sting ray sightings. My dive instructor, Marius was fantastic, as well as the entire Projects Abroad staff! They always made me feel 100% comfortable at all times, in and out of the water! It felt amazing to be involved in such a fun, exciting project that also served a VERY important purpose. Our dives were crazy fun, but that wasn't the purpose of the dives - we did trash collection dives, coral reef surveys, and my favorite - fish identification. When we weren't diving I really enjoyed exploring the local culture and tourist spots with other volunteers, and even the staff occationally! Fantastic staff, fantastic country and project. I do not have enough amazing things to say about this adventure, and have and will always continue to recommend it to anyone looking to travel abroad with purpose.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Aug 11, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Comments

We are thrilled to hear you had such an amazing experience in Thailand! This project is indeed incredible as it gets you in touch with the beautiful marine life so that you're even more inspired to study and take care of it. Thank you for being part of this project with us, we are looking forward to having you again soon!

RCDP Nepal

I enjoy coming Nepal. And i also enjoy my project,teaching to the children in the school.people are nice and i love to come again.I have a great time in school,teaching and working with RCDP.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Nepal
Posted: Aug 11, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

RCDP Nepal

I enjoy coming Nepal. And i also enjoy my project,teaching to the children in the school.people are nice and i love to come again.I have a great time in school,teaching and working with RCDP.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Nepal
Posted: Aug 11, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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