Alanna is the Business Manager for African Impact's Victoria Falls volunteer programs. She has had a very long and exciting journey with African Impact and was interviewed about her role with us, so see what she has to say below!
Where in the world are you right now? Tell us a little bit about where you’re writing from!
I’m based in the town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – a town of about 30,000 people on the south side of the Zambezi River, across from Zambia.
What’s been your journey with African Impact and what role are you doing right now?
My first experience in Africa was when I volunteered with African Impact in St Lucia in 2008 – ever since, I’ve been hooked! I volunteered twice more and was hired after I finished my undergrad in May of 2011 and I’ve never looked back! I’ve worked at a few locations – from St Lucia, at Head Office in Cape Town, and now in Zimbabwe! Now, I oversee the marketing, sales and operations of our lion conservation, community, photography and wildlife research projects. I love the diversity of the projects here – one morning I can be checking on a building project at a pre-school, and in the afternoon I’m walking lions in the bush!
What’s the best thing about working for African Impact?
Ah! I can’t choose! There are TWO things that I like best about working for African Impact. The first is getting to see real, sustainable change in the communities and conservation areas in which we work. What we do really does have an impact! Second, is being able to help volunteers have the same, life-changing experience I did eight years ago when I first stepped foot in Africa.
What are 3 highlights of your time with African Impact?
1. I’ve seen what an incredible impact volunteers can have on communities, but one standout is the container of donations that was given to our projects in St Lucia in 2011, which now houses a library and hosts a weekly Reading Club!
2. My main focus in my masters’ degree was global health with a specialization in HIV, so being able to spend World AIDS Day at awareness events (in 2011 and 2012) on the ground making a difference has been a great experience.
3. I’ve been able to celebrate four birthdays with African Impact so far, which coincides with Nelson Mandela Day in South Africa, so we always do something special on project. Spending my birthday giving back to communities every year has been really extraordinary!
What would you say to someone thinking of coming to volunteer for the first time?
Many people travel to Africa and are never the same again - embrace it all, jump in with both feet, keep a positive attitude, and let this experience change your life!
Two truths, one lie! (Answers below!)
- I’ve lived in Africa for more than 5 years and never seen a leopard!
- I come from a big, extended family!
- I had training with a Guru to learn meditation when I was 8 years old!