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My Tanzania Volunteering Experience

My Tanzania Volunteering Experience

Tanzania Volunteering Experience:

If you were looking for one of the most life changing experiences of your life, thank god you chose this trip. At first you will arrive and be completely out of your comfort zone. A foreign place, a different house and surrounded by strangers. You will feel so overwhelmed that you will be calling your mum to go home on the first night But… time will pass; The place will become familiar;  The house will become your home; And all the strangers will become your friends.

I’ve learnt a lot this past month and I don’t mean I had some life epiphany  I knew I was coming here to volunteer as a nurse; But in a small amount of time I’ve learnt enough of a foreign language to get me through everyday while still learning more:

I’ve learnt how to use a different currency, yes shillings not monopoly
I’ve learnt how to use the local transport dalla/tuk tuk/bota
I’ve learnt Swahili music is freakin amazing and the locals know how to dance
I’ve learnt volunteering doesn’t have to be from 9-5
It’s the hours that they need you there
I’ve learnt that the hospitals here may have very little but they go a long way, they make use of what they have and use so many things that back home, we just throw away
I’ve learnt that Africa time is real, pole pole is life here, no rush, no stress, hakuna matata is the motto
Everyone here is so happy and welcoming, the kids on the street that come cuddle you and the locals that yell out mambo
I’ve learnt that the mamas will never let you go hungry
I’ve learnt taking a daily malaria tablet is priority, no matter the side effects
I’ve learnt that a toilet with toilet paper and a shower with hot water is a privilege, as well as flat roads and not having to wear insect repellent or have your body covered when it’s 30+ degrees outside
I’ve learnt that wearing white clothes shouldn’t be a thing and washing machines are much underrated
I’ve learnt that no matter what, after each day your feet will be dirty, there will be dirt in your fingers nails and all through your hair, but the dirt storms flying into your face while on safari are worth every grain
Seeing all the animals in their natural habitat will make you blink over and over to check that it is real
I’ve learnt that being mzungu means locals can point and laugh at you, but not to take offence
I’ve learnt that being Aussie means everyone in house can repeat anything you say and think it’s hilarious
I’ve learnt that everyone in the house may have a different first language but we can all communicate in Swalenglish
I’ve learnt that people come and go but your connection and memories can last forever
I’ve learnt that strangers can make a foreign place feel like home and that after time, they feel like your family

Every person I’ve met has brightened my life, even in the smallest way; Every place I’ve seen has made me open my eyes; I don’t want to go home, but I know when I step on the plane I will be ready!

Asante sana Tanzania, you will always have a special place in my heart

– Maria.

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