Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Global Volunteers on the Cook Islands?
Dennis: A little history. My first trip with GV was in 2000 in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame alumni to Romania. I liked the way their program worked (invited by the host country, local team-leaders, etc) so much so that I have taken a GV trip every year since (China, Ireland, back to Romania, India, Ecuador, Brazil, and this Feb will be my 6th trip to the Cook Islands). In Rarotonga, I have made many friends and watched "my" students continue to progress—the Maori people have become second family. It's also a great place to visit during winter compared to here in Ohio!
Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Week days -
7am to 8am - Group breakfast and meeting at our lodging and meeting room at the KiiKii Motel
8am to 2 pm - Work assignment. Mine was usually one on one tutoring at a primary school; each student gets a 50 minute session.
2pm to 6pm - Free time. Go to town, e-mail, post office, swim, etc. Around 6 pm will be a group dinner at the KiiKii or at other various restaurants on the island, sometimes coupled with cultural activities.
Week ends -
FREE TIME - Visit the Saturday Market, the beach, island walk, church, and visit the outer islands.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Dennis: I have learned that a continuation of effort can be VERY effective (team following team)—one becomes a link in a very long chain. These experiences of team work and goals can be applied back home to work and family, to say nothing of the reward of doing good for others.