Would you recommend A Broader View Volunteers?
For anyone who is considering volunteering in Ghana. I can’t express enough how incredible of an experience it was, and how much I would encourage them to do it. As a volunteer you hope that you can change a life and give your help where it is needed. The amazing thing is the gift you get in return from the people you go to work with and for. You will learn about other ways of life and you learn about yourself in the process.
The accommodations provided by my host family were comfortable, private, safe and clean. From the morning greeting each day to the good night greetings in the evening. I felt part of the family. Everyday my host Lizzie, prepared a wonderful breakfast and dinner for me. It was beautiful and everything was laid out on the table and just waiting for me.
I felt completely safe and secure in my host family’s home. Not only did my room have a lock and key, but the home itself has a private gate security.
When I first signed up for the Guatemala Animal Care Center program, I didn't know what to expect. Volunteering in a different country was definitely a challenge for me. Navigating the streets, talking to the locals and eating new food are all part of the experience. Issues will come up in new environments and I can attest that it was overwhelming. Losing items and getting lost to name a few. It takes time to get comfortable for some volunteers. Interactions with the animals at the care center, cleaning their straw beds and play areas, and providing them with food are all good memories. Volunteering at the animal program was an up close and personal experience to witness first-hand how to care for many varieties of animals.
Through the volunteering you'll find that there is help needed from you. Any work will be appreciated and acknowledged. This is the best feeling. So be proactive and show initiative.
This was one of the most amazing 10 weeks I have been through in Guatemala Xela. Every person I met, every experience, every day brought something new. I can’t stress how much this experience honestly changed my life. I’ve always wanted to travel and I finally got the chance and took it through ABV. It was well worth it.
Don’t be afraid to open up. This may mean to the clinical staff or to yourself. I forged what I think could easily be lifelong friendships with many of the staff in the clinic. They will always have a place in my heart and its almost certainly likewise for them. In terms of yourself, be willing to go and travel, even if on your own, and meet new people. Everyone in Guatemala, locals, travelers, and transplants, are some of the most amazing people I have ever met and will likely meet. With a simple conversation with someone and your almost guaranteed to learn something new or find something in common.
The most difficult thing I experienced was working with special need's children, and not only having to adjust to caring for their disabilities, but also having to work somewhere that only spoke Spanish when I came here not speaking any. It was difficult communicating with both the staff and the children, and the work was exhausting anyway without the added language barrier. However, as both my Spanish and understanding of how the daycare centre was run improved, I found it easier as time went on.
I stayed with Laura, the ABV Coordinator, and her family for the duration of my stay in Quito. Laura and her family are one of the most welcoming, hospitable and loving families that I have had the pleasure of staying with, and the warmth that they showed the volunteers by including them in their family definitely meant that any homesickness was minute. During my stay, other volunteers and I had our own rooms in the family's apartment.
Colombia Cartagena Children Program
The kids are amazing (tiring but amazing) and it was great watching them live and interact with each other. They’re goofy and full of positive energy,most of the time. Also, experiencing a culture very different from my own is always exciting for me. And once my Spanish started improving, being able to communicate successfully was a rewarding feeling.
The language barrier was the biggest hurdle for me. I adapted to the city and lifestyle very well, and unknown territory was never a big worry for me (it was the exciting part).
I am doing a post-program donation so it’s never too late to donate if you don’t have enough time to fundraise properly before your trip like I didn’t have. But i would suggest fundraising before the program so you have the extra money to buy all the supplies you want. They’re pretty cheap in Cartagena and I think its more practical to buy them there…plus you’re supporting the local economy.