Rebecca Daville (Nee Wharf) - a previous Volunteer Coordinator on our Community projects, Zanzibar (Tanzania) - explains how she fell in love with the island and how her experiences in Africa made her rethink her entire career... "I first travelled to Zanzibar as a volunteer with African Impact in September 2009 when I was 26. I'd been thinking about volunteering in Africa for a long time, but a combination of not having saved enough money and being a little apprehensive about travelling on my own had prevented me from booking it sooner. I wasn't really happy in my job and was feeling a little unsure of what career direction to go in. I decided to choose Zanzibar as my destination after reading about a competition to win an eco holiday there on the back of a packet of sugar in the kitchen of the office where I was working at that time. Intrigued, I returned to my desk with a cup of tea and googled Zanzibar. The photographs of idyllic azure seas and perfect white sand beaches that immediately popped up were enough for me to make an instant decision to go and volunteer there. The Zanzibar volunteer project is in Jambiani, a coastal village about an hour from the capital, Stone Town. As soon as I arrived I was made to feel very welcome by the two project managers, Toni and Dulla, and by the other volunteers. Any nerves I had about the trip quickly disappeared as I was immediately encouraged to get involved in the myraid projects that African Impact had established with the help of the local community. I had been thinking about becoming a teacher for a few years and so teaching adults at JTTI (Jambiani Tourism and Training Institute) every morning, before visiting a local infant school to teach English and Maths to a class of 5 and 6 year olds was a fantastic opportunity and so rewarding and enjoyable. It was impossible to feel like an outsider in Jambiani; the local community were so supportive of the work we were doing and virtually every person you passed on the beach or in the village would call out 'Jambo!' when they saw the distinctive blue African Impact t-shirt worn by the volunteers. Toni, in particular, worked so tirelessly and did a fantastic job at making sure everyone was enjoying themselves. The evenings often saw us visiting local restaurants or enjoying the amazing food cooked by the local chefs in the volunteer house and we went swimming with dolphins, monkey spotting in the forest and souvenir shopping in Stone Town during the weekends, not to mention sunbathing and swimming on the gorgeous beach on our doorstep! I found that I was enjoying myself so much that the prospect of leaving Jambiani after six weeks, following a week long safari in Tanzania, left me feeling disappointed because I felt I had more to offer the project, and it definitely had more to offer me. For that reason, I decided to return to the project for two weeks after my safari. On finally returning home, I decided to apply for a postgraduate teacher training course to become a secondary school English teacher, having enjoyed teaching in Jambiani so much. However, I was still keen to go back to Zanzibar and so when Toni asked whether I would be interested in working on the project for the summer, helping volunteers to settle in and developing the projects they had in the pipeline, I jumped at the chance! I returned to Zanzibar from April - August 2010 and had an even better time than I had the first time around. Another past volunteer, Jess, and I decided to stage a production, in both English and Kiswahili of The Wizard of Oz with JTTI students, none of whom had ever heard of the story or done any acting. It was much harder work than we had anticipated, but looking out from backstage at what seemed like the majority of the village waiting excitedly for the production to start, combined with the faces of the cast receiving a rapturous round of applause at the end of the perfomance, made it all definitely worthwhile. All the volunteers helped out with costumes, props, music and staging and it was great to see everyone working together. I made some amazing friends through volunteering, some of whom I am hoping to return to Jambiani with in the not too distant future. I'm now 28, married and working as an English teacher in Brighton in the south of England. I'm so glad that I happened to read what was written on that sugar packet two and a half years ago and my advice to anyone thinking of volunteering with African Impact is to do it!" Becky Inspired by Becky's story and interested in finding out more about our Volunteer Teaching & Community Project on the beautiful island of Zanzibar? CLICK HERE for more info, or email firstname.lastname@example.org!