“It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.” ~Tom Brokaw
This article/blog is dedicated to past international volunteers who have gone abroad. It is a testament to their work in various third world countries.
It is also a brief glimpse of their lives while they were working, their experiences, good or bad; disappointments; living conditions; the country they are in; advice to future or potential volunteers and the view of the volunteering.
The testimonials are from volunteers who worked for a week to those who have worked for years. The testimonies have been edited to fit the articles / blog.
Here are the testimonies:
Sandra Rzeszutko - USA
Kenya is a wonderful country; I enjoyed the weather immensely and was impressed with the beautiful scenery and wonderful people. My host family was perfect, I grew to care for them all very deeply and hope to see them again someday. Culturally, I found the small town I lived in to be lacking in modern technology such as running water (we used a well) and that few people had refrigerators.
I must confess I had doubts about being able to cope, but within 24 hours I was totally comfortable, due mostly to my host family and the town residents. Everyone was friendly and I was greeted by all. Despite originally visiting Kenya for wildlife, I must say I was most impressed with the people. They are extremely hard working, very proud and considerate of others. I was humbled by how few amenities they had yet they live contented in what I considered to be hardship.
I learned to love seeing simple things like women hand washing clothes, carrying babies on their back and old men gathered for a game of checkers.
Daniel Dickerson – USA
The people of Ghana are much more friendly and welcoming than I expected. During my stay I did not experience a single situation where I was made to feel uncomfortable. The gracious nature of the people here appears to the result of or at least enhanced by the active participation by most people in church programs. Many schools are responsible by the Methodist, Presbyterian or Catholic Church.
One of my highlights during our stay in Ghana was attending a local church and being welcomed by the entire congregation. The country itself is from ocean to the mountains and throughout the lush vegetation. The weather is hot but not intolerable, especially in the mountain.
Our host family truly made us feels as if we were part of their family. They took care of us well.
Jessica De Vos – Australian
The local staff (South Africa) was very helpful. The project was different to what I expected but then I grew to know the kids more and what type of lives they live then I began enjoying it and had the feeling I was helping more.
I think the experience was worthwhile and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Meeting people from different cultures is one of the perks, lifestyles, fitting in with local life, spending time with a different family, learning about different societies, teaching and playing and loving the children. This program I would agree is very worth the money and is an excellent experience to open my mind and learn about different people and cultures. Thanks for all your help throughout the past months.
Katherine Potter – United kingdom
“My most memorable experience was sitting in the lighthouse bar on the Bund, overlooking the Pudong skyline whilst practicing some of the Mandarin that I had learnt on my placement. It made me really what an amazing place Shanghai is and how much I had learnt and experienced in the 2 months that I was there.”
Corey Stilts - Russia
Everything about Costa Rica was a phenomenal adventure — the sights, the wildlife, the entire country. Even more amazing than that, however, were the times I spent with the children — Caesar, Jose, Hannah, they all brightened my day and made each day I was in Costa Rica special.
Sarah, New Zealand
I still think of my Peru experience daily, and I have felt even more connected to my friends in Ayacucho and Lima as I have been reading back through my journal from last summer.
My 8 weeks in Peru still proves to be one of the most powerful experiences of my life, and I am forever grateful to the volunteer company for giving me that opportunity. I have jumped at every chance to share my story and want you to continue putting people in touch with me.