I went to Zambia when I was 18, just 9 months after completing A-levels. It was the best experience I have ever had and such an eye opener at the beginning of my independance. From the moment I arrived at the airport I was very well looked after. Watching the last bag go around the conveyor belt and realising mine wasnt going to arrive I was worried, but when I found the person who was going to look after everything he assured me it would come on the next flight and took me to my hostel. Later he brought me my bag, and from that moment onwards he was an absolute star. Always made us feel welcome and safe and bought us water daily to our hostel. There were 6 of us volunteers at various schools and we each had our own driver. The school I taught at which was called Queen Victoria looked after me very well and I thouroughly enjoyed every single day. The chrildren were so eager to learn and listen to what I had to say. I wasnt pushed into the deep end, I started off assisting the teacher. The people I met along the way were amazing. One weekend we did a safari trip to Botswana where we had a couple of cruises and a river cruise with amazing food in between, we stayed in luxury tents miles from a main road, where a man made water hole was so we could watch all the wildlife. In the evening a huge elegant elephant came from the bushes and it was the most amazing thing to be a part of, we were also lucky to see the amazing sky and gaze at the milky way.
As we were so close to the Victoria Falls, our schools wrote letters for us to say we were residents and volunteering, so we got the local rate which meant we went there more times than i could count! On the evening of the full moon we were extremely lucky to see, not only rainbow caused from the moonlight over the falls but also a shooting star going over - things you'd think you'd only see in films!
Every day we would finish school at around 1ish (unless we stayed to do sport with them) then we'd come back to the hostel to have pancakes and then visit the orphanage. The kids here were amazing, so happy and excited to see us. We played football with them, drew many funny pictures and played numerous games - of which the loved the party game with balloons where your in a line, one behind the other, and you have teams and have to get the balloon over the head then under the legs of the next person and so on. They we such delightful children and it was always a pleasure to see their happy faces.
I wouldn't change my experience for the world.