First visit to TZ as Volunteer

….Everything…happens for a reason.

…I do sincerely believe that everything happens for a reason…my friends/family here at home and in Tanzania are part of a larger picture that I plan to immerse myself to make the very best of what can emerge.

What we were able to achieve from the first visit to TZ serving as a volunteer through CCS:

  • Village visits, tours and introductions
  • Interviews with women business owners
  • MyPOP print workshop
  • Assisted in set-up of new kitchen at WEECE sponsored by a group of supporters
  • Drafted/painted kitchen mural
  • Assisted with administration
  • Assisted with conversational English

Volunteering was intimidating and frightening at times as I was overwhelmed by what I felt I couldn’t do before convincing myself to focus on what I could offer. The humbling experience allowed me to prioritize and I understand how I can best use my skills to be of service. Cross Cultural Solutions, my host organization, was a very successful experience and provided the bridge to my connection with the Voice of Maasai choir. I recommend CCS as a credible and well-established organizer for a first-time volunteer experience and encourage future volunteers to scout out sponsorships to help assist with the fees.

My advice to those considering volunteering is this:

  • If you haven’t already, adopt a mentality of listening and learning – golden rule: LISTEN MORE – TALK LESS. Remember you are there to share, not direct.
  • Spend time observing and engaging in discussions about those you are working with.
  • Be selfless in your actions and be there to serve where it is needed.
  • Politeness, creativity and enthusiasm will go along way.
  • Outline your goals before your departure as this will provide a framework for both you and the individuals you are there to serve.
  • Be natural…you may feel the obligation to try and be something that you are not…remain patient and deliberate as time will help get you into your groove.

Remarks about moving forward:

I want to extend a thank-you to those of you who have followed the journey. In the next few days and months my objectives and follow-through will be revealed, including a select variety of initiatives and projects.

As a sensual person, I have already missed and will continue to miss the sounds, smells and sites of my recent experiences the most.  I will miss the bumpy roads while piled into a small truck sharing stories and jokes with friends. I will miss hearing the dogs barking and the early morning call to prayer. I have missed the dust and the foreign words of Swahili. I will miss most, the hugs of those that I have already come to love.

Until next time, amani,

Jessey

Photo documentation of journey and initiatives posted on FB

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