Maria joined us on our Community Tourism and Enterprise Development Project in Moshi, on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. During her feedback review, we thought she gave a fantastic insight into the role of our tourism volunteers and wanted to share that with you!
I volunteered in Moshi, Kilimanjaro for three weeks on the Community Tourism and Enterprise Development project with African Impact. It was one of my best decisions yet. Moshi is a great town located near Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tourism in the area is booming, however the local people cannot benefit from it as they lack the necessary English and tourism skills. As African Impact offered a programme which gave volunteers the opportunity to teach English and tourism skills it immediately caught my attention.
Upon arrival, I received a thorough induction during my first week both about my project and the wider work African Impact do for the community. My first class was spent with Maasai, teaching them to read and write basic Swahili and English. I then spent my second class with the Maasai, including members of the tribe who had come together to form Pukorret, a cultural performance group meant to unite its members and offer an authentic experience for tourists which then serves as a valuable income generator. I felt very lucky to spend time with the group, especially as they were so welcoming and willing to share their culture and personal desires with me. I was given plenty of responsibility during my time with the group, including helping to produce a leaflet which would be distributed to local businesses to help spread the word about the group. I really felt that my skills and interests were put to good use; African Impact will tailor the projects when they can, to suit individual interests.
My final project was spent with some great students at the local tourism college. African Impact has a structured programme for members of the community to learn English and tourism skills to help secure employment in the sector. The student’s enthusiasm and dedication for learning was amazing. With a structured curriculum, it made lesson planning a breeze as I knew where the students were in their learning and how I could best develop their knowledge.
During my three weeks (which was not long enough), I gained so much from the tourism project and learned that African Impact do so much more for the community and global development goals. Some of my favourite memories were those I spent visiting the Wazee, an elderly resident home, providing shelter and food for those who had no relatives to care for them. I am so glad African Impact are supporting and protecting the residents by fundraising to build a security wall as they are frequently subject to theft. I was left feeling richer every time I interacted with them.
There is so much more that African Impact does for different members and groups of the community which would be impossible to mention in this review, but their passion for development and empowering local communities has inspired me to do more and become involved with development in some way.
With regard to the staff, they are very knowledgeable, approachable and dedicated. Some of the co-ordinators live with us volunteers in the house, so they are always there to answer any questions or concerns. The volunteer house is like a small community in itself and the people do become your family for your time in Moshi. Sharing with fellow volunteers is great; it is good for sharing ideas as well as socialising with them at the weekends in your free time. The trips you can go on are fantastic and there is so much you can learn about the local area.
Overall, if you want to help educate, empower and enrich people’s lives, African Impact are a fantastic organisation to choose and the volunteering experience will definitely shape your outlook and attitude on life for the better.