Original Volunteers

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Original Volunteers Morocco Marrakesh Review March/April 2017:

Things to note:
1) Make sure you have correct accommadation address and moroccon project advisor contact number as you will be required to fill in a disembarkment form on arrival and customs/passport control officers are very by the book.

2) The queue on arrival to passport control can be upto 2 hours at Marrakesh Airport so bear this in mind.

3) Once you are through customs, exchange some money at the bueru du change.

4) Then go to the Maroc Telecom and buy a Moroccan sim card. Cost roughly 150Dirham around £15 for 6.5gb of data 40 mins international calls and 1 hour of moroocan calls.

5) Then once actived head out of the arrivals and exit airport.

6) The driver might be there but if not you will need to contact the moroccon project advisor who will orginise taxi for you to djamma el-fna in Marrakesh from the airport.

7) The driver will drop you near the accommadation and it is a 5 min walk with the project advisor.

The above steps is what myself and a friend have learned with our trip we learned through trial and error as we were at the airport for quite some time due to passport control being very thorough. Please don't let that put you off just be prepared before you leave the UK make sure you have all the accommadation and contact details.

The trip overall was a fantastic experience and was well organised visiting the baby orphanage and feeding the homeless were the stand out activaties. Most of the travel is done via walking and taxi's. Marrakesh is very nice be prepared to haggle though when buying things from the markets. The jus'dorange stalls are good number 49 stall is the man to go to always gave us extra juice and different juices to taste.
The project advisors are great and are very friendly, they'll help you out a lot. Foodwise cafe babooshka is nice and there is a kfc near the kootbia mosque.
On our trip there were 10 other volunteers but by the end of the week that wittled down to 4 as some people come and go. The weekend was pretty much free to chill and do as you please and since it was just myself and my friend in the house now, we decided to book a couple of hotels for the weekend with aquaparks to have a bit of fun before we left morocco. I would highly recommend the morocco marrakesh trip as it balances both the volunteering and having fun really well. Don't worry about it just go ahead and book it :)

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 18, 2017
Overall:
5
Support:
5
Value:
4
By: Abu
Age:

I volunteered in Ghana a few months ago, the lead up to the trip and messages from Emma reinsured me I was prepared and the trip would be great - however; I was quite disappointed.
To start my trip, I was rudely greeted by the hired taxi driver who would take me to the volunteer house, he yelled as he told me that he 'had been waiting for hours' even though he chose to arrive 4 hours before my flight came in? and snatched my suitcase and chucked it into the car before setting off on our 4 hour ride to the house. These 4 hours were painful... he sung sex song to me and would touch my leg and ask me if I left 'comfortable' after pushing him away and telling him 'his driving wasn't making me feel safe' and that 'he should watch the road instead of staring at me' he then intentionally drove even more irrationally. Anyway, when that was over I complained to OV and nothing happened, the staff simply said "yeah may girls say the same thing but OV will not get rid of him." YEAH THANKS FOR CONSIDERING OUR SAFETY OV.. NOT! >:(
We were also hit with unexpected costs like $100 EACH NEW WEEK to do a program (even if arrival was on a Wednesday you would have to pay $100 on Wednesday for the day work and another $100 the following Monday... bullshit) we were told there would be a $100 US dollar contribution.... but not every single week. When the costs were questioned Fred simply ignored the question and was unable to tell us where our money was going .... (into his pocket? Probably.)
The communication between host countries and OV is disgraceful and I discourage others to steer away from this organisation.
The country made my experience amazing, but OV seriously, get your shit together this is a joke.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 9, 2017
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
4
Age:
20

I have used Original Volunteers on two occasions now to book projects to Thailand and Ghana and I highly recommend this company if you would like to be involved in volunteer projects.

For those who have concerns about what company to choose when volunteering, my honest opinion is that Original Volunteers offer rewarding experiences and are very good value for money in comparison to other companies out there.

Original Volunteers were very supportive in their pre-travel advice, communication with them was excellent and they have always been happy to answer my queries. Everything ran very smoothly from beginning to end on both trips.

Thailand

Admittedly I was very nervous at first, I had never travelled alone before. Once out in Thailand an airport transfer was arranged and the accommodation hostel had a very friendly vibe. I was happy and settled from the very first evening, I met some wonderful people, both locals and other volunteers, and every day from then was a new adventure. The hostel helped to create a good rapport among the other like-minded volunteers. Meals at the accommodation cost from £1-4.

With regards to the teaching itself we had lots of resources to use, and as with any volunteer company you are expected to be able to think on your feet and use your initiative. After all, you are not there to be spoon fed, but to have a challenging experience. Throughout the trip our taxis to our volunteer placements were arranged for us, and we even had very affordable mini buses take us on weekends away and then drive us back! Generally we worked 4-5 days a week and then travelled on weekends.

The weekends included, boat trips, island hopping, a full moon party and plenty of time on the beach relaxing. My experience in Thailand was easily the best few weeks of my life and the following year I used the same company to volunteer in Ghana.

Ghana

I expected a similar experience here and in regards to the company’s organisation and efficiency I received exactly that.

I was late when I arrived and the other volunteers were sleeping so after a very warm welcome from 3 more staff members I called it a night. In the morning the other new volunteers and I were given all the information we needed and we were given answers to all our questions. We spent the rest of the day being shown around the local area and gathering supplies, which mainly consisted of drinking water and snacks.

The next day is when the volunteering began; the days usually began with a meeting where we all discussed what we will be doing and what we want to achieve. I taught in a school called Sunrise where I met so many lovely children and teachers, it was an amazing experience. If you plan on teaching for your whole trip I’d recommend thinking of some lesson plans before hand and take any equipment you might need. Most of the schools have little or no equipment so taking stationery is a good idea.

For a weekend trip a bus was organised for us and we arrived at a small beachfront community with a few hotels and a very nice atmosphere, this is the place to come to unwind. They organised beach parties to bars, live music, bonfires and nice food.

Another great place to visit is Cape Coast, we spent two days there and visited the old Slave Castle which was a very thought provoking and educational trip. The next day we visited Kakum National Park where we had a mini jungle trek followed by the Canopy walk, which was a 350m walkway suspended high in the trees.

In summary, I genuinely recommend Original Volunteers, they are affordable, supportive and very reliable. Working and traveling in a foreign country proves your ability to move out of your comfort zone, to take risks, and to adapt and confront new challenges. Thank you OV!

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 4, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: KiranK
Age:
25

I have recently came back from volunteering in Ghana and would like to say a hugh thankyou to all the team for all the advice given to me over the phone and via emails. You gave me the confidence to do this I volunteered in the hospital, at the schools and did an outreach project. It was truly amazing and I plan to go out again next year for longer with my 11 year old son to do health promotion in the schools. The staff at the volunteer accommodation were so helpful as well.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 4, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
Age:
55

This company is possibly the worst, and if you are searching for a good experience I sugest you ignore their cheap prices because otherwise you will come to regret it.

I travelled to Kenya for the Mombasa project in the beginning of March, from the get go the company showed little interest after payment had been made. They would take ages to reply to e-mails and phone calls were non existent.

Upon arrival (following an 8 hour flight from London) my supposed airport pick up, was no where to be found. Turns out the lack of communication between OV and their connections was as bad as they were with me, they failed to communicate that I was to arrive in Nairobi and not Mombasa. I had to take another 8 hour coach ride to the coast to meet my pick up.

Upon arrival I was told that the volunteer house that had been out of use for over 5 months and that volunteers had been staying at the White Castle Hotel (the Kenyan welcome pack from OV stated all volunteers had to stay at the volunteer house). To make matters worse, not only did they not tell me the volunteer house was out of use, Emma also lied to me and told me there were another two volunteers already at the supposed 'volunteer house'. It turned to to be only me and absolutely no project to volunteer, as the Grandsons of Abraham Rescu Center was recruiting street kids and so there was nothing for me to do.

One day on my lack of volunteering I was out doing touristy things as a way to kill time and I was robbed and beaten near Fort Jesus. When i repported the incident to OV they completely ignored my pleas, screened my calls and refused to refund me my monies. Luckily I had payed via paypal and they found in my favour.

I have a police report and will be taking further action against this so called company for negligence and misrepresentation. I would definitely not recommend them to anyone, DO NOT let the prices fool you!

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 21, 2017
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: anadju
Age:
22

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