What is your role at IVHQ? What inspired you to join them?
Carol: I am the in-country Communications Manager for the IVHQ Tanzania program. This means that I am in charge of queries via email and phone from all our potential, current and future volunteers. I coordinate all volunteer logistics, run orientations, be the point of contact for all volunteers in country, etc.
My older brother participated in IVHQ's Tanzania program prior and then had the job that I have now and he inspired me to go and volunteer and see what the program was all about!
What do you enjoy most as far as your role?
Carol: I enjoy meeting people from all over the world! Each and every volunteer has something to contribute and a unique perspective. Watching them find a niche in a place that has become so important to me personally is a truly wonderful and rewarding experience.
What is your favorite story of a volunteer's experience with IVHQ in Tanzania?
Carol: One of my favorite stories about a volunteer happened a few months ago. A current placement that we send volunteers to was found by a volunteer. He was walking near his own placement one day and saw a sign for an orphanage that he was unfamiliar with. He went in and met the director and all of the children. This volunteer was inspired by the director and how hard he worked for these children and spoke to me about using it as a placement. He then motivated current volunteers to go check it out and to begin volunteering there! It's one of our farthest placements we have from our living accommodations but every volunteer that has been placed there just loves it. It's a special place and we're happy that our volunteer stumbled upon it.
What should every volunteer considering Tanzania know?
Carol: People in Tanzania are very friendly and welcoming. You will hear a 'Hello, how are you?' (in English or in Swahili) from a stranger much more often than you do back home. As a foreigner the local people are just as interested in you and your culture as you are interested in theirs. Don't be intimidated - just be friendly and give a friendly smile and a 'Hello' back- it will go a long way in getting to know new people!
What tips/insights do you have for first-time volunteers abroad?
Carol: For first-time volunteers my advice is simple: expect the unexpected! Going abroad to volunteer for the first time can be overwhelming- it's all part of the experience! Challenges equal rewards. We do our best to support all of our volunteers in-country and will never have you live or volunteer by yourself - you'll always be in good company. So just relax and take each day as it comes - you'll be challenged in many ways but learn, experience, and grow in such amazing and positive ways.