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Global Crossroad

It’s hard to describe accurately in words my time at By Grace – it was an incredible experience. From the moment I was introduced to the staff & children, I felt at home and very welcome in the centre. It was quickly agreed that I teach English & Maths to Form 1 during my 2 week stay at the centre & I was given the teaching aids that were necessary for classes. The other teachers were especially helpful if I had any questions etc. and also Salome was a fantastic source of information and advice during my stay. I found the students to be very eager to learn and very receptive in class - it was just such a pity to find them with only one book to work from for the whole class. Nevertheless, the teachers manage with what little resources they have & they are a great inspiration for the children. I had a fantastic time at By Grace – I extended my stay there by a further week but that was still far too little time to be spending with such great children. I wish I was still there now but I will definitely go back as soon as I can organise for it.
The only thing to note maybe for future volunteers is that the description I received from Global Crossroad on the activities I would be performing at the orphanage was not very accurate. I did not expect to be spending my whole time teaching – had I been aware of this I could have brought out some teaching aids, books etc that would have been beneficial for the students.
Host Family
I was so lucky to be housed with Rahab & her family. I was welcomed into her home as one of the family & I really felt at home during my stay. Rahab spent so much time with me & taught me a lot about Kenyan culture and way of life. She sacrificed her own time at weekends to bring me to the Giraffe Centre & the Bomas of Kenya. She also helped me to buy provisions for the orphanage – taking another whole day of her personal time. I was also invited to join the family in Mombassa over Easter …..the list of ways in which I was welcomed, helped and guided really is endless. In terms of the livings conditions I found the house to be most comfortable and the quality of the meals I received was excellent.
Safari
The safari was absolutely fantastic. The driver, Sammy, was very competent – I felt very safe in the vehicle on such rocky roads! He was also very knowledgeable with respect to the wildlife – in terms of both identification and giving us information about specific animals. The campsite was well run – it was clean & even had hot showers on our second day! The food was also very good.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Kenya
Posted: Oct 5, 2008
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Real Gap

Very little support from the company in Rio. They are not there, it is another company that deal with you. No one met me at the airport, had a number in Rio to phone if that happened. No one answering(they were at the movies)Had another number in the UK!
No one available to help when I was mugged. Did not ring emergency number in UK for obvious reasons! but did ring number in Rio and no one available.
Supposed to volunteer from the first week I was at Rio(IN fAVELAS)but children on holiday. Real Gap knew this and did not make any alternative arrangements.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Oct 4, 2008
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Global Crossroad

I can only add to the previous reviews of this company by strongly agreeing with the comments, particularly that of GC being a business and not a charity. While the project I was involved with in Ecuador was very good, and I really felt like I was helping, it was only once I had arrived that I discovered that the cloud forest eco-lodge is run by local villagers and supported by a couple in Quito who find them volunteers. GC act as an agent in this respect, and therefore take a huge cut for doing virtually nothing. Having talked to locals and the couple who run the show in Quito, I worked out that over two thirds of what I paid ($1500 from memory) went to GC, while the Quito representatives took a fair amount of the rest (I believe deservedly) and a horrifically small amount a day went to the eco-lodge and local people to look after us. When I questioned GC about this huge discrepancy, the only answer they could give was that the rest was needed for "administration". It would be rather more understandable if the pre- and de-briefing had been of the highest quality, and I had been totally confident of how and what I was doing before I went. This, however, was not the case, and I can see no reason for them taking such a large amount of money. What upsets me most is the abuse - as a traveller, it takes experience and confidence to just turn up in a foreign country and find a project to volunteer for, but this is by far the best way of doing it; that way you are bound to find good people doing good work, and not be ripped off by opportunists who have prospective volunteers over a barrel.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Oct 4, 2008
Overall:
0
Support:
0
Value:
0

Comments

I am suppossed to be going to Ecuador in september with rcdp. I'm trying to figure out if they are the same company as gv. If anyone could give me more info if you've been that would be great. I'm starting to get nervous being that I'm travelling alone. Any help would be great! Sofiad@hotmail.com
are you available to give me some info about where to volunteer in Ecuador. David at eaglechiro@yahoo.com

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

PROS: met amazing people, changed my perspective on things, sweetest children at the orphanages, great food, house was in a decent location, neighborhood felt safe, neighboring locals knew there were foreingers in house and were friendly, nightlife, very cheap prices compared to other programs, had a lot of time to travel, flexible, had internet in house, washing machine...
CONS: airport pick-up came late, staff introductions were bad, disorganized, did not enforce rules, cold showers, staff seemed random and untrained, new program so they're still learning, a lot of miscommunication, didn't get bus pass badges - got bus passes - so we didn't need passport photos, some volunteer sites took over an hour to reach, no structure at teaching english sites, didn't tell you what to do at orphanage sites, just let you on your own...
All in all, I had a great time. You'll have expectations every where you go and might get disappointed here and there... but that's normal on any trip you go to. The culture is different and it's all a learning experience.
I lived in a great house, had a bed, had free lunch and dinner, free bus passes, had weekends to myself - had a good time. :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Oct 1, 2008
Overall:
7
Support:
8
Value:
9

Comments

thanks for your feedback. My daughter will be going to Viet Nam soon and I appreciate your information. Did you have an issues with general safety? And, in particular, any food safety issures?
Thanks for your pros and cons, I always like seeing both of them, would you do this group agaon if you had the chance, I'm looking at going to Ghana Africa, it seem that structure is lacking but I could see in a 3rd would contry this could happen, do you think it was the groups lack of structure or the overall way things where done in that country? Thanks, Greg
Why would I fabricate the information? I'm just trying to be helpful. BUT I should have included that most the pros and cons I listed are geared toward my experience in Vietnam and with the Volunteers for Peace in Vietnam (VPV), the group IVHQ set me up with.
Yes I have and the health program was outstanding. IVHQ have outstanding programs..... ignore any bad feedback, I heard one as well (on a forum on the net before I left) but it was completely false. It appears even this person had a completely different experience to myself and the others that went OR the feedback was fabricated which is my guess.
hello, has anyone volunteered in Nepal with IVHQ? maybe the Health Care programme? i herad some bad stories...

Global Crossroad

Global Crossroads is a business not an organization. They are not supportive, and could care less about you and your well being after you pay them. I'm lucky I didn't end up kidnapped and sold. The other volunteer who I later met, was an 18 year old boy who had never even been out of the USA. Upon his arrival at the airport, his ride never showed up and he ended up taking a random taxi to a motel where he stayed the night in fear. Luckily the next day he somehow found a contact and eventually made it to the local office. Global Crossroad does not provide you with any information once you arrive. I was picked up, driven to some lady's house, (to this day I have no idea who she was or how she was affiliated with GC), spent the night there, picked up again in the morning, taken to the local office, waited there 3 hours, then finally taken to the orphanage. Along the way nobody would ever tell me where I was going or what was happening and it was truly frightening.
I think my total cost to Global Crossroad was around $1500 and I learned they gave the orphanage where I stayed only $100 for me being there.
I was told I would be teaching orphans English. Instead, the orphanage had it's own school that was well established and taken very seriously. They already had teachers and all the kids knew English. For the first few days I really had no purpose, but eventually I just started helping with cooking and cleaning and playing with the kids. I also helped them with their homework. It turned out as a great experience but not what I signed up for. I am still very close with the founders of the orphanage and help raise money to put the orphans through high school. IF ANYONE WANTS TO VOLUNTEER AT THIS ORPHANAGE WITH NO COST TO YOU, i can set it up. The founders of the orphanage are willing to pick you up from the airport and make sure you are taken care of. Don't waste your money on any organizations. If you really want to make a difference, use the money you would've spent to help put these kids through high school!! Please feel free to contact me with questions or info on volunteering in Kenya. The kids will change you forever. It was the best experience of my life (no thanks to Global Crossroad)
htebbutt@hotmail.com

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Kenya
Posted: Sep 26, 2008
Overall:
0
Support:
0
Value:
0

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