In the month that I was there I first spent time at a hospital, where I was able to move around to some of the different departments. Here I was able to see health conditions and procedures that I hadn't seen before. I enjoyed learning from the Doctors, Nurses and other volunteers at the hospital. I then spent time on a HIV and care programme, where I would assist staff with daily tasks at an orphanage for children with HIV. On this programme I also went into communities where I enjoyed seeing people receive support and donations.
I was fortunate to visit a school where the pupils were educated on health matters such as HIV, the class was translated to me and I was shown around the school. We also went to people's homes where it was sad to see people live in poor conditions but it was nice to whiteness how donations were helping families. On these visits I was told that I may have been the first white person that some of the children may have seen. The time I spent with children had been some of the most fulfilling and enjoyable experiences of the trip.
It was interesting to discover the culture and traditions. I also enjoyed seeing wild animals on safari and meeting other volunteers and tourists. Overall the experience was amazing and made me more of an independent person. The only issue was with the dala-dalas (local taxis) ask the price for the ride before getting on.
On one of the days, we visited a local school to conduct a health check up. The school did not have proper walls and the coordinator told me that for some time, the school did not have a proper roof. Inside one of the classrooms, I saw 15 little children bundled up in scarves and jackets, eager to learn. It warms my heart to see the dedication and passion these children had for their education. The children were so respectful and stood up and greeted me when I entered their classroom. It was a privilege to do a health check up for these children. I checked their height, weight, and eyesight. Most of the children were underweight. It was inspiring to see how happy these children were regardless of the condition of their school or their financial backgrounds. They were determined to study and progress their careers. Despite the fact that these children were from humble backgrounds, their lunches were all homemade and healthy. During my stay in India, I often observed that middle class and upper class children ate a lot of unhealthy refined flour products like Maggi, biscuits, and namkeens for lunch. Despite the fact that these children were from humble backgrounds, their lunches were all homemade and healthy. This was also great to see. I truly enjoyed visiting the school, and I wish I had had more time to visit another one of the schools.
I've done a similar trip in Guatemala with another program but it cannot compare to going through ABV. The coordinator in Honduras was with me every step of the way and cares that you are getting the most out of the program. As a result, I learned and saw so much that I wouldn't have been able to see as a volunteer in the U.S. I got to take vital signs, help out in wound care, and I learned to start IV leads and administer medications and vaccines. I got to witness live births and hear about the surgeries that other ABV volunteers witnessed. It was also cool to meet other volunteers also from ABV and hear about their experiences. What I loved most was learning from the doctors and nurses who enjoyed teaching us despite how busy they were and who had the patience to explain to us the whys and the hows. In the U.S., it's harder to find doctors who are willing to take that time of their days. Overall, it was an amazing 2 weeks and I was excited to share it with my family and friends back home. I definitely recommend this to anyone in the health care field who would like to get a taste of what health care is like in a different country. You will learn a lot and get a decent amount of hands-on experience!
I gained so much hands on experience and saw so many medical cases during my pre-med program in Honduras. The doctors were more than happy to show us how to do sutures, catheters, vaccines and more. I did see cases and diseases I could only read about at home. At the hospital, I got to watch so many surgeries, deliveries and met so many different types of doctors. It is amazing how well they do with what they can with such little and limited resources. We also gave pets vaccinations and went to schools to educated people with an outreach healthcare program. I am so very thankful for the opportunities and all that I have learn. I could never have gotten this kind of experience at home (Canada), and this truly reinforced my path in the medical field. The Spanish lessons were good and very helpful. The neighborhood we lived in was very safe. They have two security guards that are circulating in the neighborhood 24/7. The house was located near the mall and a taxi anywhere in town was only 25lps (1.50USD).
I had a tremendously positive experience during my 6 weeks in La Serena. The school staff and students were all very welcoming and eager to have a native English speaker with them and they were all very friendly. The host accommodation far exceeded my expectations. Vilma the host mother had the perfect temperament for the job, offering a comfortable home with beautiful home cooked meals and time to talk and laugh in the evenings. The neighborhood of both the accommodation and the school were very safe and I would highly recommend this program to anyone, particularly with Vilma she is the coordinator of the program as you couldn’t ask for more hospitality or a more seamless transition into volunteering. It was my first experience volunteering and its an experience I’ll never forget.
This was my very first trip abroad without my family. I was very excited to go to Costa Rica to help out the sea turtles and see the culture. This program has definitely broadened my view of volunteering and the culture.
There is a lot to get “used to” when you arrive. There is a major shock due to lack of technology and limited electricity at the camp. You must be very social and open since you will be around other volunteers all the time. My biggest problem was adjusting to being dirty every day, we did beach patrols, making holes for turtle eggs in the safe zone, digging out the eggs from the beach, making paths, cleaning the beach and much much more :)
I was part of a host-family and shared an apartment with another ABV volunteer. All this was a bonus since I had my own space to write, yet when it came to family time, we were only one floor away from the warmth of a fabulous family. My host family took pride and leaving time aside to be with everyone together. Also, the host-family was very passionate with all the food they made. If you want to learn about the culture, food and traditions, please have a host-family in mind. The best part of this trip was helping all the children. I was inspired to see all the children so eager to learn and to see how passionate they were to hear what everyone had to say. Some children have to walk far, but they were there on time and eager to learn, I already miss them.
I started my time in La Serena after having been in Chile for five weeks (four in Santiago and one in the Lakes Region). It was very exciting to see another facet of Chilean culture – particularly the striking red and white architecture. I was nervous to start work at Colegio, specifically with the language barrier, but this proved to not be an issue. The children were very outgoing and excited to talk to me, which put me at ease. Luckily, I was also able to go on tours of both Pisco Elqui and Isla Damas during my one weekend in La Serena. All in all, it was a fantastic experience that helped me see Chile from a point of view distinct from that of a tourist.
For anyone who is considering volunteering in Ghana. I can’t express enough how incredible of an experience it was, and how much I would encourage them to do it. As a volunteer you hope that you can change a life and give your help where it is needed. The amazing thing is the gift you get in return from the people you go to work with and for. You will learn about other ways of life and you learn about yourself in the process.
The accommodations provided by my host family were comfortable, private, safe and clean. From the morning greeting each day to the good night greetings in the evening. I felt part of the family. Everyday my host Lizzie, prepared a wonderful breakfast and dinner for me. It was beautiful and everything was laid out on the table and just waiting for me.
I felt completely safe and secure in my host family’s home. Not only did my room have a lock and key, but the home itself has a private gate security.
When I began seriously looking at volunteering in Africa and Ghana in particular, it was important to me that I use a nonprofit organization which passed on the financial contribution to the orphanage I would be volunteering with.
I would love to share my experience with other volunteers who are considering a journey to Ghana.
When I first signed up for the Guatemala Animal Care Center program, I didn't know what to expect. Volunteering in a different country was definitely a challenge for me. Navigating the streets, talking to the locals and eating new food are all part of the experience. Issues will come up in new environments and I can attest that it was overwhelming. Losing items and getting lost to name a few. It takes time to get comfortable for some volunteers. Interactions with the animals at the care center, cleaning their straw beds and play areas, and providing them with food are all good memories. Volunteering at the animal program was an up close and personal experience to witness first-hand how to care for many varieties of animals.
Through the volunteering you'll find that there is help needed from you. Any work will be appreciated and acknowledged. This is the best feeling. So be proactive and show initiative.