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Involvement Volunteers International

Highlights of the trip:

-Interacting with the kids, who are so genuinely excited to see you. It’s amazing how accepting, grateful and respectful they are!
-Meeting people from all around the world, particularly Europe! Made friends with girls from all over Europe and America, whom we met up in Bangkok for the weekend!
-The locals: everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and more than happy to help with directions.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
The team, particularly the team leaders, were lovely and always tried their best to answer your questions and were very informative regarding plans, times, meeting points etc. The shared dorms were also great, and were important in getting to know to others. The food was nice most days too, and kept us going throughout the day.

Any improvements to help us be better:
-More preparation for classes- i.e information on the best/most effective way to teach the kids.
-Regarding food, more vegetarian options.

Program:
Location:
Posted: Jan 24, 2020
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Involvement Volunteers International

Thinking back to the two weeks that I spent in Vanuatu volunteering was magical and amazing. It opened up my mind much more, to see the world in greater depths as we should not always take everything for granted.

The challenges that we face in our everyday lives will always take a step backward when we see families in Vanuatu without access to clean sanitation and education as well as limited food supplies of nutritional value. Therefore, this volunteering program was extra special and made me realise that helping others doesn’t bring a sense of joy to them but ourselves too. For example, when a lady who was quite emotional and anxious about her blood glucose levels told me “god bless you” after giving her the all thumbs up news.

Even though I attempt to act as a qualified practitioner, what we can do is so meaningful and adds a little reassurance to our hearts. Throughout these two weeks, we got to measure people’s hip circumference, weight, height as well as blood pressure and blood glucose levels as a part of a free medical check-up for the villagers in Vanuatu. I initially thought that there was a blood pressure monitor provided to take their readings but as soon as we were given stethoscopes I started to freak out.

With numerous practice in our lodge, I was becoming more confident until we got to the actual village setting was a different story. I find it most challenging with background noises around as I was always used to the tranquility and laid-back environment in our lodge for practice. Even some of the children were attached to their parents so it was really difficult getting an accurate measurement from their fidgeting movements. But I think pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and discovering new things is important as you will never predict where you can be in the future. I wanted to say this because special shout-out to Cherry who always wants me to be the best version of myself encouraged me to sign up and great memories can be made.
What amazed me was when the newborns were weighed on a supermarket scale as they lacked basic supplies. All in all the Vanuateers (amazing people who I was lucky enough to share the experience with), co-ordinators including Carrun, Meriam and Lynne (incredible mentors making our Vanuatu days much easier and co-ordinated) made it an unforgettable experience and one to never forget!

Program:
Location:
Posted: Jan 20, 2020
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

I cant believe 3 months at Askari are already gone. What an amazing time I had I can only thank Katie and Robbie for their great hospitality and making us feel at home. Also thanks to them I have insanely improved my knowledge of the bush. I have already volunteered in other projects and I can assure you this is probably the best. I look forward to coming back again.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jan 18, 2020
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I volunteered in Laos for two weeks. I wish I could have stayed longer! Laos is a beautiful country that has so much to offer. The Green Lion Team is extremely nice and always willing to help you with any problem you encounter. From riding a bicycle to school to teaching the lovely kids at school or hanging out with other volunteers at the bonfire, every day was extremely enjoyable. This experience was really enriching and exceeded my expectations. I can't wait to volunteer again in the future. =)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Colombia
Posted: Jan 16, 2020
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

Highlights of the trip:
Being greeted at the airport by our drivers, and our first night staying in Lautoka with Litea and her family – she went above and beyond to welcome us to Fiji and ensure that we felt comfortable in her home. She took us shopping and to church on Sunday before serving us lunch and making sure we made it to Port Denarau in time for the ferry.
Getting to experience daily life and culture on the island – our hosts were extremely accommodating and attentive to our needs, and the kids were great tour guides for our afternoons after school. By the end of the week, it already felt like I was becoming a member of my host family.
It was interesting to see how developed the school was despite being in such a remote location – the classrooms were well built and the teachers were very professional and knowledgeable.
The kids, although a little rowdy, were eager to learn and share with us. It was a pleasure and an honour to have the opportunity to teach Class 1 for a couple of mornings, as well as some sessions with Class 2 and 5.
Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
Masi made sure our transport and accommodations at arrival in Fiji were all taken care of – even though he was in Suva, he made sure to phone in and check on us, and explain the arrangements for our transport to Yanuya – this was much appreciated. His son was also very helpful in arranging for our water and kava root to be bought and delivered to the ferry terminal.
Litea and her family were amazing hosts for our first night in Fiji – her home was very comfortable, the food was delicious, and we enjoyed interacting with her daughter and grandchildren.
The transport to and from Yanuya was well organised. We appreciated the efforts made to pick up and drop us off in the longboat from the ferry across to the island.
The headmaster and teachers at the school were very welcoming, and helpful with any questions we may have had during our stay. I appreciated the efforts they made to include us in their classes on the first day / orientation.
My host family were a joy and pleasure to stay with. They were very welcoming to both myself and my travel companions.
The room prepared for my stay was large, clean and comfortable. I was surprised to find that there was electricity / wired lighting provided in the room, and I could have my bedroom light on as late as I wished.
My host mother, Oni, went to great efforts to prepare all meals from scratch, including rising early to prepare fresh bread rolls for my breakfast on several mornings. She was also accommodating of my dietary requirements, making sure not to include any foods I was sensitive to, and making a special trip to the markets to get pineapple when she found out it was my favourite.
When I fell ill on the Thursday night, she was also very attentive to my needs, and prepared only the foods I requested for the remainder of my stay.
I did not see her husband very often whilst I was on the island, but appreciated him meeting us at Port Denarau on our return from Yanuya, and arranging transport for us to the resort.
Any improvements to help us be better:
A cultural orientation would be appreciated – we were served a large amount of food by our host families and encouraged repetitively to eat more at every meal. We were unsure if this request could be denied without causing offence, and if the excessive amounts of food would go to waste if not eaten, and subsequently ended up making ourselves ill.
We were also advised (before leaving Australia) that we should purchase snacks / fruit before going to the island, as there would be no shops on the island. We brought food from Australia, and also purchased fruit at the markets in Lautoka – it was not required – our hosts provided more than enough during our stay. Personally I found it embarrassing to have fruit going rotten because it was laid aside and forgotten, as a result of us being so well fed by our hosts.
The only positive being that we were able to make gifts of our snack foods to our host families at the end of our stay – they appreciated the chips and chocolates.
Overall I found it ok to be hosted individually, however did find it daunting at first, especially given that I was expecting to be hosted in pairs. I believe I would have adjusted more quickly had I arrived knowing / expecting to be hosted individually. I personally would prefer being able to stay in group accommodation such as during our trip to Cambodia last year.

Program:
Location:
Posted: Jan 16, 2020
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

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