Preparing for my trip

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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I just got my passport in the mail yesterday!  Woo hoo!  If you're from the US and need help on how to expedite your passport to get it here in time, let me know.  I ended up researching everything and found pretty much all the options.  I still have to get my visa taken care of but I can always do that when I get there too, it's just twice the price ($100 versus $50 USD).

I'm going through this great organization called Kidsworldwide (  Again, I researched this thing thoroughly and this organization really is one of the best in addition to being the cheapest.  You really have to be careful because there were all these organizations online charging $2000 USD plus for one months stay!  They claim it's for room, board, and "administrative costs."  If every volunteer paid that much money and the schools actually GOT the money, they would be doing great!  Cost of room and board for one month is only around $75-$100 per month.  Those people are psycho.  Kidsworldwide charges $350 for the first month (room and board plus a small donation to the school) and only $100/month for every month thereafter.  And the best part is you pay the money DIRECTLY TO THE SCHOOL when you get there, NOT in advance.  Also, they let you play a big role in what you want to do instead of telling you have to do certain jobs or office work, etc.

I'm also working with another non profit called Access Empowerment (  We're working on gathering used textbooks, library books, etc to ship overseas.  The first shipment will likely be going to Ghana but after that, it's wherever they see the need.  One of the founders is a Ghanaian and him and his wife run this organization.  They have connections with a trucking and shipping company to ship these containers for FREE!  Yeah, seriously.  Amazing huh?  They're also working with other partners in building the seventh liberal arts college in Ghana.  I can't wait to see this project grow!

As for me, I don't think it's still quite hit me.  I've done all the necessary stuff...passports, vaccinations, plane ticket, etc.  But it hasn't REALLY hit me.  I still need to go shopping for some clothes (more culturally appropriate than what we generally wear in California), basic supplies and snacks, etc.  I've also bought a few small toys so far but would love to get more to give to the kids.  It's all coming together but when it gets to the week of...oh my.  I leave in just three weeks....yikes!

SmileyGirl says:
I'm already excited to finish reading your blog! I've done a ton of research as well about volunteering abroad and was not very happy about the huge fees charged by most organizations.
Posted on: Aug 01, 2011
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