Placement Details...

Penfield Travel Blog

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So I booked this trip to go to Africa and teach English through i-to-i travel... they arrange volunteer trips around the world, and when else am I gonna be able to do something like this?? Except for me having to fill out some paper work for my visa and buy my plane tickets... and pay the bill, of course... i-to-i has been extremely helpful and has taken care of everything so far. When I get to Tanzania, they'll give me an orientation with the other volunteers, put me up in a volunteer house, find me a placement to work at, and feed me twice a day. Not bad.

But, the downside of having all this taken care of for me, is that they don't tell me the exact details of my trip (aka where I'll be living, working, blah blah blah) until three weeks before I officially start my volunteer project, which was... last Sunday. And up until about 5 minutes ago, I still hadn't gotten these details. Keep in mind I'm leaving in six days, because I plan to do some traveling before hand. Anyway, needless to say I was freaking out a bit. So, after several thousand phone calls and frantic emails (lucky me was called to serve jury duty the week before I'm supposed to leave the country for a month and a half, so at least I had plenty of down time to make these calls...), I finally got the details. Let me share them with you now... this is where I'll be living:


There are 2 shared volunteer houses based in Moshi near to the project. There are shops and restaurants nearby. The houses are basic but clean and there will be a house girl present to prepare local style meals.
Rooms will be shared up to a maximum of 4-6 volunteers. The house has a lounge area and garden for communal areas. Most of the projects are within 45 mins-1 hour from the house to the project. The house is about 20 minutes from town. The houses have hot water and western toilets but please remember this is Africa. The hot water can run out/go off and some of the bathrooms have African style toilets. There are facilities for hand washing clothes in the house, or you can arrange for it to be done nearby. The shower relies on electricity to heat up so you may find that due to unreliable electricity you may not always be able to have a hot shower.

By the way, "African style toilet" means hole in the ground. So this trip will be slightly different than my tour through Europe a few years back. It's okay. I don't like hot showers anyway...

Next! this is where I'll be working:


The school is a fruit of an individual initiative of a single widower who felt the need and vocation to devote his efforts to orphans, street kids and children living in very hard life conditions. It was an outcome of a bitter experience and hardship he experienced in paying school fees for his own children after his wife passed away leaving a one day baby. It is a nursery school that is very needful and in appalling conditions, started to help these miserable kids left on their own desperately strive against illiteracy. The school is open from Monday to Friday 08:00 am-11:00 am. It follows the government school holiday calendar, though with high flexibility at volunteers’ convenience.

At 5 km from volunteers’ house, one can walk or take a local bus. The school now has 34 orphans with a 5-12 year age range. There is no qualified teacher to teach them. There is only somebody to keep them busy trying to teach alphabets and counting numbers. Employing a qualified teacher is still beyond the reach of the school's financial means.

This project can generally take two volunteers at a time. The volunteers will be teaching English, alphabets, counting numbers, drawing, music and singing, sports and games.

On the needs of the center, it is above said that the school is in appalling conditions and thus needs everything: food stuffs, clothing, school fees, school uniforms, shoes, study materials, reading books, teaching aids, including blackboard, sports and games equipment, and many others. Note that any donation is very important and appreciatiated.

Wow. That's all I can say. I am so nervous. But at the same time I'm 10x even more excited. This is going to be an incredible, life-changing experience. After hearing about this school, my plan for these next six days is to revise my packing list just a little bit, take out some "essentials" like... umm... clothing... and try to gather up some stuff for the kiddies. Anyone wanna contribute?? :)

travelman727 says:
I think it's great that you can combine your love of travel with your passion for helping children :-D
Posted on: May 25, 2007
mzzzmeowww says:
wow thats sooooo awesome! i would love to know how it turns out when youre done.
Posted on: May 24, 2007
-Alex- says:
sounds fantastic - enjoy :D
Posted on: May 24, 2007
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