Through PMGY, I was a medical volunteer at a private clinic, community clinic, and a government hospital during my one-month stay in Arusha, Tanzania, and lived with a local family.
The pre-departure support is comprehensive, the volunteer handbook is all you literally need, including interesting information and advice like to avoid giving money / items to those who ask or you may promote further exploitation which I had also learnt previously the hard way. Of course, if I had rare questions i would usually receive a reply within 24 - 48 hours.
The in-country support is again comprehensive. They will personally guide you to your home, work, attractions to see in town such as the museum, maasai market, and to the essentials like the grocery store and banks.
Regarding accommodation, unlike most volunteers, I chose to stay with a local family where I was placed up in an extremely peaceful, quiet, cool and "green" mountain. Here, I had a first world bathroom shared with only one other roommate, a private room with a bed, including mosquito net, desk, shelves, chair, light. The home cooked food is delicious and tasty, and I will admit that I am a fussy eater too. The best part is that it is Tanzanian food and really fresh as they grow much of their food! You can even help with feeding the animals, gardening and cooking over an open wooden fire if you want to! However, I live about 45 minutes away from town, including the volunteer house, so it can be difficult to spend time with other volunteers.
For my placements, I did not expect to experience healthcare delivery in three distinct settings and am very happy that the in-country team could organise that for me, even on such short notice i.e. within a week of my request while already volunteering at the time. They definitely want to help you get the most out of your time in Tanzania! My favourite is the government hospital which is the busiest and most action-packed location where you get to observe and assist in a range of tasks and operations, depending on your knowledge and skills or willingness to learn how to do "XYZ", such as watching C-sections in the theatre to performing examinations on patients in the wards like measuring blood pressure, undertaking a Glasgow coma scale test, or undertaking phlebotomies, respectively. Just remember that it is Africa so you will witness unique and potentially traumatising events which you will not see in the developed world, let alone on "western" news or in "western" documentaries. Be open-minded, respectful and remember that the medical staff are ultimately doing their best to help patients get better with the very limited resources they have available. Also I recommend that you learn to speak some Swahili, at least do the pleasantries fully in it, including farewells, because if you develop good working relationships with doctors and nurses which includes also chatting with them, they will incorporate you as part of the team more often so you will learn more and get more practical experience. Besides, Swahili is a great icebreaker and you will make a great first impression.
In summary, if you want an intimate volunteering experience and experience life like a local working Tanzanian but also have the freedom to do touristy activities as well, then I would encourage you to stay with a host family, brush up on your clinical skills, and start applying. I will never forget coming "home" everyday to my "family" on a daily basis after opening the front gate where the two children would run to greet me and hug my legs, or how my host mother would welcome me to her home with a beaming smile, help me with my belongings and ask about my day. I know they say home is where the heart is but after living with a local Tanzanian family for a month, i'm starting to think family is where the heart is too. The best part is that tomorrow, I get to experience this moment all over again, and although I may live alone with my roommate in the mountains, I certainly did not feel alone but welcomed and adored by many.