Author: Abegue Oyono
Whether you are wanting to volunteer for 10 days, 1 month, or more, you will have an unforgettable experience. You'll get to know another culture, live new adventures and meet amazing people... Here's my story.
My very first morning as a volunteer on the Girl Impact project in Moshi was dedicated to ‘induction’, where the staff ensured I and other volunteers would find our bearings and made sure all our questions were answered. Once you are a bit more familiar with everything – you’ve had a tour of the house, you’ve got your Tanzanian SIM card, exchanged your money for Tanzanian Shillings and have had a good lunchtime meal (prepared by our awesome chefs Joeli and Tuma) – it’s time to head onto project!
As a Girl Impact volunteer, I spend my mornings (from Monday to Thursday) teaching intermediate and advanced English classes in the community. I would always be supported by a project coordinator who spoke Swahili to ensure the lesson would go as smooth as possible! During classes – on top of essential skills such as grammar, reading, writing and speaking – we discuss important topics. This can range from anything such as sickness and diseases prevention, to writing a CV, passing a job interview and speaking in front of an audience. I’ve learned that it’s important to make the class as interactive and fun as possible so everyone can participate. If you’re lucky enough at the end of the class, you may be able to see a Maasai jumping session from our Maasai students to show their thanks and happiness.
Friday morning is dedicated to our female entrepreneur group ‘WaKiPa’, where we offer support with their handicraft and business ideas. We always have a fun session teaching English too, to help them sell their products!
Monday to Wednesday afternoon was focused on Girl Impact workshops, where I either helped to facilitate workshops on health topics /child rights and abuse at the local School for the deaf, the village primary school or with a women’s group of impressive tailors.
To ensure that we had all materials ready to deliver meaningful sessions, our Thursday afternoons are spent preparing the following week’s lessons. Usually with hot drinks and biscuits!
As everything cannot just be work, there is plenty of time for fun activities and tours. So far, I have been on a 6Rafiki Walking Tour in Msaranga Village (the community where we teach), visited the biggest town in Kilimanjaro (Arusha), spent 1 day hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro (more courageous volunteers did the 6 days hike to the top – I am not that brave!), hiked in Marangu village and swam in the hot springs. For the rest of my stay, I am going on a safari to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Crater and planning on going for a weekend in Zanzibar!
Awesome food is always provided at the volunteer house where you’ll be able to taste typical Tanzanian gastronomy! If you fancy a night out, the city of Moshi is just 15 minutes away by car or by Dala Dala (the local bus which you should at least try once!). The house is very secure as our Maasai security guards Mika and Matayo are always around.
The weeks are going very fast and punctuated by power cuts every now and then! So far I am having a blast and trying to improve my Swahili skills.