Best Choice I've Ever Made

Ratings
Overall
10
Impact: 9
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Value: 10
Safety: 10
Review

Staying at Hostel Hoff was hands down the best choice of my entire Africa trip. It was incredibly well-organized, ethically-run, clean, safe, and had some of the most welcoming staff I'd ever met.

The facilities and grounds of the hostel far surpassed my expectations. There was good wifi, hot water, near-constant electricity, and beds were very comfy! There was a nice kitchen we could use, dishes and fridge and toaster. There was a big common space indoors with TV that was loaded with movies and shows, a giant bookshelf full of novels in all languages, towels/sheets, and a big comfy couch!! There was a nice dining area outside we ate at every evening, with electric plugs nearby, and the woman (Mary) who runs the hostel ate with us every night! The facility has indoor rooms (think: college-dorm-type setup,) as well as permanent outdoors tents for the more adventurous! The tents are super cool--zero bugs/snakes, stay cool in the heat, and have locking cabinets/a dresser/big comfy wooden beds with mosquito netting. You get to be in nature when you wake up, and can see the smattering of stars across the sky when evening comes(:

I felt very safe in the town itself, and could walk around alone there for hours at daytime (I'm a 21 y.o. female). Hostel guards kept us very safe at night--never once felt unsafe.

There are cleaners daily for the hostel, and a groundskeeper who keeps the nature tame!
The food at Hostel Hoff is the best I've had in my entire life. Dinner and breakfast are provided. There is always fresh fruit/veg at meals, and more than enough food to go around! I'm still dreaming about Victoria and Jessica's chicken stew over steamy rice, eggplant spaghetti, chips mayari, and toasty chapati bread! YUM!

The volunteers I lived with and met have become lifelong friends. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming, they go out for drinks on the town, dinner at nearby restaurants (the brownies at La Fuente are to DIE for,) and shopping days in town! It's truly a lovely community to come back from projects to every day. After dinner we would always play games or watch movies together and I don't think I've ever laughed as much as when we all played charades together!! Lots of people were there solo, as was I, so don't worry if you're going alone. You'll fit right into the Hostel Hoff family!

The hostel is a 10 min walk from the town center, very close to post office/bank/supermarkets/good restaurants/nightclubs.

Mary is the woman who runs the show. She answers emails within a day (usually less!,) and is constantly on top of everything happening there. Her communication and organization are flawless. She makes changes whenever issues are brought up, magically fixes electricity cuts, checks up on everyone, and really makes the place feel like home when she visits every night! I can't say enough positive things about her.

The hostel will help you get a SIM card, and give you a town tour as well! They have numbers for safe motorbike/tuk tuk/taxi drivers, massage and manicure people, doctors, etc., etc., all on hand.

I will note that their weekend tours are wildly overpriced. (Masai tour, waterfalls, coffee, etc.). While I'm sure they're lovely, I would really urge you to look elsewhere. There are loads of wonderful, safe, super fun, and fairly priced tours offered elsewhere in town!

The company that runs the hostel also hosts Kilimanjaro climbs and safaris. I went on a safari with them (African Scenic Safaris,) and had a phenomenal time. I really encourage you to check out their TripAdvisor page, as they've got thousands of reviews and 5 stars! I've had 9 friends climb Kilimanjaro with them and heard nothing but positives. They're safe, ethical, fairly priced, and have a super high summit rate.

Tanzania really is the "heart of Africa" and I feel very lucky to have picked Moshi as my first destination on such a beautiful and misunderstood continent. The hostel became my home, and I hope to return some day.

I strongly urge you to send them an email (a quick google search will get you to their website/contact details,) and book the flight! You won't regret it!

I volunteered at their medical volunteer option--St.Joseph's hospital. This next bit is about that:

I was able to be incredibly hands on (within my level of training) at the hospital. I performed CPR on countless kids and infants, was able to help insert/remove IVs, observe surgeries (heart, c-section, appendectomies, etc.,) clean and triage burn victims, change dressings, help with charting and rounds, consult with doctors, help with births, transport patients, and give advice where I could.

As a nursing student, I came with the idea to work on a different ward (male, female, labor & delivery, and pediatric/children's,) each week, to maximize the scope of my experience. However, after one week on the children' ward, as my focus in school is pediatric trauma nursing, I fell in love with the kids and knew I'd found my spot! I worked the pediatric ward for 4 weeks, with days here & there spent in labor & delivery.

The experiences I had there were beyond comprehension. In my time on the children's ward I witnessed & experienced deep joy, sharp sadness, loss, wonder, and fascination all wrapped into one. I became dear friends with the local nurses, as well as foreign med students and volunteers. I had profound experiences there that have shifted my views on medicine, invigorated my passion for pediatric trauma nursing in 3rd world nations, and given me a newfound appreciation for the resources available at my home hospitals.

I fought tooth and nail alongside other volunteers for countless children and newborns, performing CPR, mouth-to-mouth, intubating, doing the kangaroo method to raise body temp., etc., etc..
Quite a few kids and infants who we worked on in my time at St.Josephs ended up succumbing to their various conditions/traumas and dying with us. Holding them as they passed, fighting to save them, informing their families, and everything that came between has fundamentally changed who I am.
Witnessing and helping with births, watching babies enter the world and holding them in their first moments here with us? Words don't even come close.

Volunteering at St. Joseph's was a deeply profound privilege. I had experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life, met patients who have impacted me at the core, and was able to witness things I couldn't have seen elsewhere.

Staff all spoke very good English, doctors and nurses were very kind and open to feedback, the facilities were well-organized. They did not have any continuous monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, etc., (in fact did not have any BP cuffs at all,) but did everything they could with what they had.

The effort you put determines the quality of your experience there. If you leave at noon, or don't ask to help out with things, you can have an entirely different experience than I did. Stay until 2pm, ask nurses and doctors if you can help with/perform skills within your medical training (such as asking to wash burn victims, take over CPR if someone has been doing it for a long time, change bandages, observe a surgery,--only if you are well trained in that area,) speak with other volunteers, follow up with your patients, etc. You get out what you put in!

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
2019
Media
Photos