Volunteering with IVHQ in Arusha was not only a fulfilling experience but also a huge eye opener.
I taught English in a small local school that had just been created for very poor children who cannot afford to pay to go to school. Although at the time I felt like I wasn't making a difference, when I talk to past and present volunteers, I can see that actually the children did progress over the time that I was there and this makes me want to go back and help and especially so I can see my little monsters again!
I stayed in the local volunteer house which housed up to 30 volunteers. It was a really great place and had been designed to Western standards so very comfortable and clean. The food was absolutely delicious with lots of fresh fruit a vegetables and great local dishes cooked for us by the 3 'mamas' who would come in every day. We had one mama who lived in the house with us and who was always there to help us if we had any questions or problems which was really reassuring. We also had a permanent security guard at the gates so that we always felt safe. The local staff and actually the locals in general were all really friendly and welcoming, though, for girls the men were sometimes overly friendly!
Because we were so many volunteers in one house, the social life was really vibrant with weekly trips to the local club, Via Via. You also formed really close bonds to others whilst you were there which was nice because you could get good groups to do some tourism with. Me and a group of volunteers did a safari together and I even went to Zanzibar for a week with my roommate. Luckily, IVHQ were really great at helping us to organise trips and at our orientation we got given a list of things to visit and which companies to use so it was all pretty effortless. At orientation we also got given a guided tour of Arusha so that we would know where to go shopping and get anything we may have forgotten.
Overall, it was definitely an interesting experience and one that I would happily have again. It definitely opened my eyes and made me so grateful for the life I have and the small comforts such as permanent power. It also made me realise how even just a little help can go a long way in developing countries an this has compelled me to go abroad and volunteer again. Although IVHQ may have been quite expensive seeing that Africa is such a cheap place to live, it is definitely one of the more afforable companies out there and it's worth paying a bit more to be with a reliable company that is always there for support and help.