Volunteering in Africa was something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember, though in every way my expectations were completely exceeded. Every person I met in Zimbabwe, from cooks and housekeepers to community project managers, lion handlers and the volunteer and admin coordinators were the most friendly people and all so knowledgeable within their respective fields. On top of this, there wasn’t a single occasion I didn’t feel 100% safe!
I was on the community project so majority of my time was spent with people; primary schools, preschools, the Rose of Charity Orphanage and the Old People’s Home. Whether you were teaching maths at Monde Primary (I had 4th Grade!), testing out your finger painting ability at the old people’s home, teaching sounds at Reading Club or simply hanging out with kids on a Saturday at the orphanage, every single second spent on project was so rewarding. You could really see how what you were doing was contributing to the short and long-term goals of African Impact.
An awesome highlight was, thanks to the flexibility of African Impact, despite being based in community, I also got to dabble in the other project areas- walking with the lions on several occasions and being apart of the research projects like game counting and even a camping trip for hyena monitoring! My days off were equally as amazing. We rafted down the Zambezi and threw ourselves of a perfectly stable gorge three times with the adrenaline combo. We also took a day trip into Botswana for safari and to Zambia so we could quite literally hang off the edge of the falls at Devil’s Pools.
Overall the experience was nothing short of incredible- I wasn’t prepared for the attachment I would feel for many of the people (kids and adults alike) I met on project and the way they would fill me with happiness even though I was the one who was meant to be bringing them whatever happiness I could by volunteering in the first place. My advice is simple- if you’re considering volunteering in Africa- DO IT- I’ve only been home a week and I’m already working out when I can go back!