An Outstanding Service Opportunity in Tanzania

Impact: 10
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Value: 10
Safety: 10

My wife and I have visited Pommern, Tanzania three times since 2008 with Global Volunteers (GV). We did considerable research on organizations that offer short-term service opportunities in Africa and picked GV because of their written philosophy of service and stated policies of working side-by-side with the community. The community is in charge and decides on priorities, rather than a group of Western visitors telling the local community what to do.

The program fee covers all expenses once in country - initial lodging in Dar es Salaam, meals, all transportation, lodging enroute, lodging in the village, materials for work projects and other stuff as it comes up. It pays for the full time involvement of Edward,the Tanzania Country Team leader (a Pommern resident)and Mohamed, the assistant team leader/driver for the entire service trip, and Mama Tonny, a local woman cook while in the village.

During our service trips we assisted in teaching English and Geography classes in the Secondary School, Kindergarten classes, helped at a monthly well-baby clinic and at an HIV/AIDS clinic. We worked on work projects funded by GV and requested by the community or Secondary School, such as painting classrooms and mixing concrete by hand to build walls in a new school kitchen.

We were warmly welcomed to the community and Edward always seeks ways to involve volunteers more fully. We clearly felt our presence made a positive difference for the community. We felt over our three trips we made some life-long friends in the community. Edward and Mohamed work very hard to ensure everyone, consistent with their abilities, can contribute their skills and talents to the community and make a difference. Mama Tonny is a great cook and feeds everyone very well with big, tasty meals. Most meals are vegetarian with occassional meat. Everything is fresh and the fruit is awesome! Lodging is in a 1900s era Mission House built for German missionaries. We were impressed our first time Pommern, a rural subsistence farming community, to find such comfortable accommodations, with flush toilets and running (nonpotable) water. Ample bottled water is provided by GV. Electricity is usually available in the evenings from a small generator. Mama Tonny gladly heats water for sun showers. During our trips we were able to attend both a local wedding and a funeral.

We highly recommend GV for a service trip to Tanzania. It is an outstanding experience and way to meet and interact with the community as equals and not tourists. We will definitely travel again with GV to Tanzania!

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would