|Volunteer Name:||Clare M.|
|Project Attended:||Teaching and Community Assistance in Victoria Falls|
Clare Murray aged 22, a Kaya volunteer from the UK, volunteered on the Teaching and Community Assistance project in Zimbabwe and here is what she had to say about her time abroad:
“I have had such an amazing time volunteering here in Victoria Falls. I have learnt so much and met so many great people. The impact and positive effects the community project has here is very rewarding.
The information given to me before I came helped me to feel very prepared for my time here. It has definitely made me want to do more work like this in the future. It has helped me to put things into perspective and have a much more positive outlook on life. I feel that I have personally gained so much from this experience. I’ve met some of the most amazing people…the other volunteers, staff who work here, and the people in the community. It is an experience I will never forget.”
Here is what Alanna, one of the project team members on the ground had to say about Clare:
“From my side, it was a pleasure to have Clare on our volunteer team here in Victoria Falls. Her studies and experience teaching in the UK really helped her be a confident leader amongst the other volunteers. She was everything we could ever hope for in a volunteer – hard-working, passionate, and full of ideas! She will most definitely be missed by us all.”
Clare also met Jackie, Kaya’s Projects Director, who conducted a short interview with Clare to discuss her volunteering experience:
What were your motives for volunteering abroad?
“I wanted another experience with children outside of the UK where I could use my teaching skills and I also wanted to volunteer abroad again as I enjoyed it last time.”
How did you decide that the project in Victoria Falls was for you?
“I really wanted to go to Africa. I read through the options that the Kaya Placements Advisor recommended for me with my parents and this project had lots of different elements that appealed to me. I also liked the added bonus of the work with lions.”
How did your parents feel about you volunteering overseas?
“I have done it before with a friend and my Dad was OKish but my Mum was nervous about me heading to Africa on my own but also excited for me. Once I got here and was able to use WhatsApp to keep in touch and speak to her every day about how nice everyone was, she wasn’t worried anymore. They know that not for one second have I felt unsafe here.”
Did Kaya prepare you for your placement?
“Yes, I felt prepared and competent when I arrived.”
What aspect of the project have you enjoyed the most?
“It is so difficult to decide as I have enjoyed all of it. I love that there are lots of options and the team are great at offering opportunities for volunteers to do things that they are most interested in where it is possible. I really liked the old people’s home as I have volunteered with the elderly before, the pre-school is great, teaching at the kids club was fun, and the lions are so different from anything I have experienced before. I just couldn’t pick one.”
What impacts of volunteering did you see on your placement?
“I have really liked seeing the impact that the project has had on the community. A jojo (giant water tank) has been installed at the old people’s home and this week the local community have been using it as their supply was broken. It was also great to see the children at the pre-school, a clean and safe learning environment, as this was decorated from funds from former volunteers.
Which excursion was your favourite?
Visiting Chobe national park was amazing. We took a day trip to Chobe in Botswana that had breakfast and lunch included. We had 3 hours on a boat cruise and then did a 3-hour game drive. We saw so many animals – elephants, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, antelope and more. Amazing.”
What advice would you give to other volunteers?
“Stay for longer! I thought that 2 weeks would be plenty as I was coming without friends or family but it has gone so quickly. Usually when I go on holiday 2 weeks is plenty but I wish I was staying longer so that I could visit the various projects more often and get to know the children better.”
Will you volunteer again?
“Yes absolutely. I have the confidence to do it now and I would love to visit South America and combine it with some travels too. Asia too.”