Our Adventures in Africa Part 1
Recently we visited Africa on a volunteering trip, and I really wanted to write about our experience because it was honestly incredible! I’m going to have a go at travel blogging for the first time and I hope you enjoying reading!
Rewind to six months ago and Ayesha and I realised we had absolutely no plans for summer. We decided to confront our bucket list and make something on that list become a reality. We decided to choose “Volunteering in Africa” and that same day we searched the internet for some projects. After some time we stumbled upon African Impact and their project in Moshi Tanzania. It sounded perfect and less than 24 hours later, the whole trip was booked!
Fast forward to the 19th June 2017 and our parents were waving us off from Heathrow Airport. I remember feeling pretty scared as it was the first time Ayesha and I were travelling alone and our first time ever visiting the continent of Africa. Not to mention our nurse had scared us with stories of rabies and hundreds of other diseases that I hadn’t heard of before…
Over 12 hours later and we had landed in Kilimanjaro Airport- the tiniest and most unorganised airport I have ever encountered. Our first couple of hours in Moshi were not that great.. We had problems going through immigration, and we had one suitcase full of donations for the school we were volunteering in, and for some reason airport security wanted to confiscate it. It was so scary because airport security were shouting at us in Swahili and we had absolutely no idea what was going on. Much to our relief, Elieza, a worker at African Impact came to rescue us (thank you Elieza, we will never forget you)!
We were in Moshi for 2 weeks, so as much as I would love to tell you everything in detail, my blog post would be a mile long, so I’m going to cut it into Part 1 and Part 2.
Today, I’m just going to focus on the actual volunteering side of our trip! One of the main reasons we picked the Moshi Project was because it enabled us to help every aspect of the community including children, adults and the elderly. We had a schedule every day (except for weekends which was our free time) and each day we participated in around 3 projects.
In the morning, Ayesha and I both taught English to adults in the community. Ayesha was in the foundation class where she covered topics such as shopping and the past tense, and I was in the intermediate class and covered topics such as road safety, types of illnesses and feminism. This project was particularly challenging because we were expected to plan our own lessons and lead the class basically right from the word go. Planning lessons was a stressful experience, but it made teaching all the more worthwhile as it was so rewarding witnessing improvements in the students with the tasks you had planned yourself.
The second half of the morning, Ayesha and I were both in the nursery. This was probably one of our favourite projects because the children were absolutely adorable. They were always so smiley, and such a pleasure to teach and play with. I will never forget the memories of walking into the nursery and the children running up to me shouting “Teacher! Teacher!” It was my favourite part of the day and it will be a memory I will cherish forever. We sang songs with the children and taught them basic English as well as helping them with arts and crafts. Volunteering in the nursery was such an amazing experience, one that I will never forget.
In the afternoon, Ayesha volunteered in either the Old People’s Home or on a project teaching children about health. In the Old People’s Home she would help with the gardening and generally keeping the elderly company by talking to them and playing games with them. I also went to the old people’s home once, and it was quite difficult because the conditions were not the ones we were used to. Nevertheless, the residents there were so lovely and they acted like a little community, it was adorable! During the health project, Ayesha took part in various activities teaching primary school children about food groups, the importance of daily activities such as washing hands and playing ball games and frisbee to promote the importance of sport. Ayesha loved this project because the children were always so welcoming and enthusiastic!
Finally, I spent my afternoon with the lovely girls from NAFGEM, which was a project that worked with girls who ran away from home due to female genital mutilation. This was probably my favourite programme because we focussed on teaching the girls about feminism. In a culture that wasn’t easy on women, we tried to encourage those girls to have goals for their lives. Even though the girls had been through so much, they were always so happy and we had the best time together. I remember the first time I went to this particular project, Mr Francis, the man who took in these girls, told us the girls’ story and how he came about to help them. I remember bursting into tears at his and the girls’ story as I was so overwhelmed with what he was telling me.
There were many more projects that were available, but these were the ones that we participated in, and we honestly had the best time! The evenings and weekends did not consist of projects, and you will find out what we got up to in part 2! This was my first time trying to travel blog, so let me know if you guys have any tips and tricks for me!
Thank you for reading!