Rustic Volunteer and Travel

Not Verified What's this?
9.1 / 10 after 81 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

Submit a review

Franklin, I first want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to you and your beautiful family for the work-the incredible effort that you have taken to make all of us welcome, safe and happy. As I hope you will understand through this review, you’ve gone above and beyond to make our experience unforgettable. Thank you!
Accommodation and Food: What can I say? It was hot, the beds were lumpy, the showers were cold. If it rained, our laundry was ruined. You’ve to get used to mosquito bites. And I loved it. It takes a specific type of person to take this trip. It forced us out of our comfort zone and made us reconsider the things that we actually need to survive. The people in Ghana live simply,but spectacularly. If your goal is to learn how Ghanaians live-to understand them from their perspective, this is the house for you. We even live better than most people here- electricity, running water,entertainment,a car. But it is a necessary first step to understanding the culture here- their needs and priorities, their challenges and strengths. It was great. As for the food, I loved it. Traditional Ghanaian cuisine is different from what I’m used to back home so Mary Anne did a great job easing us into FUFU and BANKU near the end of our trip, making sure to incorporate some American favourites as well. I’ll definitely miss how well I have eaten here.
Support from Host/Staff: Oh gosh, I’m not sure of anything more the staff could do for us to help us feel more supported. They not only agreed to take us to the market whenever we wanted but were eager to do it. You could tell that they love to share their culture with volunteers. They play traditional Ghanaian games with us, they point out things that we may otherwise miss, they teach us how to catch a tro-tro or how to buy food from street vendors. They’re up to greet us in the morning and tell us goodnight when we go to bed. We’ve grown so close to the staff here,it’s become the hardest thing to leave. Franklin, the host keeps the machine working. He makes sure we get to our volunteer sites on time and picks us up in the evening. He orients us when we first get here and is the first to let us know that we are his family. I couldn’t imagine my trip to Ghana without these hardworking, kind and funny people. I can’t wait to come back.
We were placed among four different volunteer sites across Kasoa and elsewhere. So we were only able to volunteer about two days at each place since we roatated between our group. It was actually great for the amount of time that we were here. It would have been nice to stay in one place to be a little more impactful but we were of course more limited. The schools themselves were unforgettable. The children were amazing-eager to meet “OBRONIS” and to learn. I think volunteers will find that the simplest but most memorable joy of this trip is getting kids to smile. It’s something I will take with me forever. Some days are hard. Some these schools have very little and use methods and techniques that we are not used to back home and your heart will sometimes feel heavy with much of it out of your control. So I have learned to focus on the small things-the things that you can improve and make this experience very worthwhile.
I already have recommended this experience to others. This has been an absolutely incredible, life changing experience for me. It reconnected me to the world, forced me out of my comfort zone and taught me a new way to treat people. I am so grateful for this experience and if others choose to pass it up because of things like no air conditioning or hamburgers or queen-sized beds, that would be an unfortunate mistake

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 31, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Corey
Age:
26

My wife wanted to plan a trip for the both of us which we could experience a new country and volunteer/serve with a community. She came across Rustic Volunteers (RV) on the Internet which offered a number of very appealing projects as well as excursions. After some time, we decided on Nepal where we could help teach at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery as well as enjoy trekking through the Himalayas.

The representatives at RV were very helpful and informative. The staff had recommended on travelling to Nepal in October 2013 so that we would have the opportunity to experience some great festivals in the country. Due to circumstances we had to re-schedule our trip to February 2014. The staff was very accommodating and flexible with our time.

We did not know that here in Nepal, RV was a part of a group of other organizations. However, it was great to meet others and learn about their respective projects while staying at the same accommodations and going on excursions together.

From the time we landed in Nepal, the staff on the ground (Hom, Prakash, Ke'Su) were very attentive and made sure we were taken care of. It is nice to know that a point person is very accessible and that the organization will provide lodging, transportation, and food when possible.

We had about 2 weeks in Nepal which was split between volunteering at the monastery and trekking. With a short amount of time, we were unable to teach as originally planned. However, this was mostly due to the Tibetan calendar and the monks needing to prepare for festivities. It would have been nice to have direct contact with the monastery staff to have a better understanding of our participation, but things worked out where we helped out around the monastery and still were able to interact with the monks. It was a wonderful experience.

The organization provided a guide as well as porters for our trekking trip. While I find it difficult to have a bad trip in the Himalayas in any circumstance, it was great assurance to know that we would have someone available with us on our trip to handle any translations need and accommodations.

Needless to say, my wife and I would recommend RV! If you have any questions, they are more than willing to help!

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 28, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: danielom
Age:
34

I am a 19 year old girl who came to Sri Lanka to volunteer abroad, after having a really good experience with volunteering in South-Africa. I stayed for 3 weeks, and during my program I taught Buddhist monks and worked at a orphanage. I stayed at a hostfamily in Galle, right next to the temple where I taught.
Compared to Africa, this stay is more of a vacation than pure work. You teach for maximum 2-3 hours a day, same with the orphanage.

I guess I am supposed to tell my opinion, to make your choice easier. I don't see how that would work. The food, the hygiene and the infrastructure is VERY different, coming from Norway. They have a strong culture, and their religion (the majority is Buddhist) is so beautiful. The people stare a lot, but will never hurt you.

I had a great time here, because I decided to make the most off the trip no matter what. The host-family was very nice, and I learned a lot about the culture, the people and how great differences can be. If you come here with another attitude, your trip might not turn out the same way. But I truly enjoyed this program :)

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 19, 2014
Overall:
7
Support:
7
Value:
7
Age:
19

I will start by saying that I had an awesome time!!Whether or not I grossly over paid is up for debate.
I had a week to figure out what I would do for a vacation. I knew I wanted to be somewhere warm and fun. My initial idea was one of those all-inclusive vacations where I would float by the poolside bar every hour or so.
Then I thought that perhaps I could do some volunteer work somewhere and found that volunteering on vacation is actually a thing!! I contacted 2 companies (the first 2 on the Google search) and decided to g with the cheaper one that could send me somewhere warm, with a nice project in which I could make a difference.
Long story short, I bought my airline tickets so I knew I would be going to Costa Rica, just not sure where. I was slated to do the Marine program but that fell through, the alternate one would have cost me $200 on top of the $800 I was paying for the program. I decided to go with the third option proposed by the coordinator.
Once I ironed everything out, I was told that someone would meet me at the airport to take me to the village where I’d teach in a school for a week. I confirmed this before I got on the plane to Costa Rica and thought that I was all set!
So after waiting at the Airport for 1 hr., not seeing anyone who would shuttle me to the site, trying to contact the coordinator in the USA, I relented, called the coordinator of the other program (with the additional cost) and Thankfully, She saved me!!
Off to an orphanage, with the cutest kids, that just needed love and attention and Justin Bieber posters ☺
This stopped me from lamenting the cost, because being at the orphanage made me pause to really appreciate family and opportunities that I’m blessed with. Moreover, I was astounded at the resilience and determination of the kids who are really fearless, even the little ones!
I must say the orphanage surpassed my expectations. The kids are well taken care of by the Tias (Aunts) who run the house and the nuns.
I was also struck by the way in which the teenaged girls gave so much of themselves to help take care of the younger while balancing studying for exams.
I was psyched to be able to help with their English homework and exam prep. We did a little art with the supplies I brought (although much of what I brought was for the school that I was supposed to be stationed at).
I helped the nuns bake bread (another source of the income for the orphanage) for them to sell.
We caught a frog and had a little “science” discussion with the little one and did I say I had an awesome time.
Okay, I stayed with a family that was super nice. My host mom and dad were really engaging and told stories for days!! They really made you feel comfortable and were super patient with my Spanish. Also met two super awesome friends with whom I took PuntaArenas by storm!!!
I am super appreciative of the help I got from the lady who took me to my project every day, who went above and beyond to take me to get some items that I really wanted to purchase for the kids.
My trip culminated with an absolutely awesome excursion to a nature reserve. The local coordinator who saved me at the airport again coordinated this. It also cost more, but it was absolutely worth it.
And in summary (I promise I’m done after this) I had a great and memorable time. I would absolutely go back and absolutely recommend a volunteer vacation to anyone. I would however look for a cheaper program since it is possible to find this for 1/3 of the price as was pointed out by one of my house mates. Now that I have a local contact I’ll be all set for the next round!!
The moral of this story is don’t be last minute. But embrace the adventures in life because YOLO!!!

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 16, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
5
Value:
5
By: Dee
Age:
31

This my second time volunteering through Rustic Volunteer Travel. Rustic allowed me to cater my project to my skills and training in capacity building, health management, strategic planning. I was able to work with the coordinator on impactful development projects in Kenya (Kibera Slums, Ngong-Living Positive Kenya, and Watama-Gede Hospital). The projects themselves were very successful and were able to make direct impact with the communities. Areas of improvement can be the logistical planning; however the Country Coordinator, Jimmy Wambua, is new and has a great passion for making a quality difference. I think with more support and as he gets more experience and ground support as well as financial support from the US organization, he will be able to strengthen the program to be more effective. In overall, the experience was challenging and yet rewarding simultaneously. I was highly impressed with the Kibera Slums projects as the CBO's are highly motivated and dedicated to their community. They just need a little support in training and encouragement. I also enjoyed my experience in Ngong and working with Mary. Mary was a fantastic support and has dedicated her life to the work helping women with HIV and AIDs reassimilate into their communities through sustainable economic and healthcare opportunities.

Will always cherish this experience!

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 28, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
6
Value:
10
By: Krupa
Age:
31

Pages