When I was a junior in college, I decided I wanted to use my winter break of college to volunteer in East Africa. I had been studying Swahili for almost three years and I wanted the opportunity to really immerse myself in the culture and language of Tanzania, while being able to volunteer my time in the community. Here's how I raised the funds to support my journey of volunteering abroad.
Today was an extremely emotional day for me at the nursing home. Justin and I spent some time assisting residents at breakfast and then went directly to the laundry room to help out there. Our time didn’t last long there though as we were called outside to play games with the residents. We got our old dominoes pals together and played several games of dominoes.
As soon as I step onto the tarmac, beads of sweat ripple across my jet-lagged skin. Eyes itching from too many hours within pressurized cabins, I blink several times and follow the lumbering man ahead of me. With his khaki safari vest, a giant camera bag over his shoulder, and his head swiveling back and forth, it appears he hopes to spot his first zebra before he even clears customs at Kilimanjaro International Airport.
I’ve been living in Salvador, Brazil for six months now. Although my primary CCS service placement is teaching at a community preschool, I also sometimes visit a nonprofit organization in Salvador that works with AIDS patients and individuals who are seropositive for HIV. One of my first days there, another volunteer, Alexander, and I are asked to shave the hair of the patients. It is my first time cutting hair, and the results quickly reveal that fact. Help comes in the form of a patient who used to cut hair on the streets. He teaches us patiently how to hold the razor and guide with our wrist.