World Unite! Volunteering, Internships, Cultural Travel

Volunteering, Internships and Intercultural Learning in Tanzania, Zanzibar, India, Morocco, Israel, Nicaragua, Bolivia, China, Japan, Ghana, Galapagos, Ecuador


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Sea Turtle Conservation & Recycling in Zanzibar

Melanie from Germany tells about her volunteer work in our sea turtle conservation and recycling project in Zanzibar!

My time in Zanzibar was amazing. My volunteer project did not only allow me to work with the turtles, but also gave me an insight into life in Zanzibar. The sea turtle sanctuary in Zanzibar is located on a beautiful beach: Everyday I enjoyed gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, turquoise blue sea and white sand. However, it is important to remember that many local people live a very modest life and have to make do with very simple means. My advice to future volunteers is therefore to familiarize themselves in advance with the reality of life in Zanzibar.

My tasks in the turtle sanctuary included to change the water in the pools of the baby turtles everyday  and to clean the shells of the big turtles. In addition, the sanctuary treats sick turtles until they are well enough to be released into the ocean.

In addition to working in the sea turtle sanctuary, volunteers have the opportunity to support a recycling project. With the help of volunteers, Lisa, the project coordinator, draws attention to the waste disposal problem on the island.

After volunteering, I traveled the island for another week.

I am very grateful for my stay and the time on site and can only recommend the experience!

Kind regards,

Melanie

Here you can find all information about Melanie’s Project.

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Reading & Afternoon Care for Children in Nicaragua

Gioconda Belli, Ernesto Cardenal, Ruben Darío or Sergio Ramírez: Many important writers come from #Nicaragua! Do you love reading and would like to share your passion for books with children and young people? As a volunteer in the Minibiblioteca, a mobile library in the colonial city of León, you help to animate people to read! Here you can read the review of Anna from Munich. 


I am Anna, twenty, from Munich and spent nine months in Nicaragua working on the Minibiblioteca project. I had an incredibly good time there that I will never forget.

Anna, have you been able to speak Spanish before traveling to Nicaragua?

Since I went to Nicaragua without any knowledge of Spanish, my first were exciting and sometimes challenging. But the Nicas were all very nice and I communicated with hands and feet. I was very happy about having decided to take 2 weeks of Spanish lessons at the
beginning. I learned a lot not only about the language but also about the culture. Over time, my Spanish got better and better, through the daily life, my host family and, of course, the time I spent in the project.

What were your tasks in the project?

My tasks in the project were a little different than expected, but I nevertheless I liked it very much. I have been mainly involved in childcare and the afternoon care of about 30
children (6-12 years old), a side project of the Minibiblioteca.

What was a typical daily routine in your project?

The children come to Center after school to do their homework. Usually, we first do a short short meditation / relaxation exercise with them. During their homework time, we would usually take a short break to serve the kids a small snack since the children do not always get something to eat at home. When everyone has finished their homewerk, we would start with the afternoon program. Volunteers can individually contribute to the program depending on their interests and may carry out own workshops with some of the children.

The Minibiblioteca offers a wide range of activities, among them English lessons, handicrafts, gardening, reading club, ballet, flute lessons, theater, chess, traditional dance, science experiments and math games.

I gave a workshop on recycling several times a week. We made handcrafts with recycled materials and I also tried to sensitize the children to environmental issues and to explain aspects of environmental protection in a vivid and exciting way. I also prepared and realized some of the other workshops together with the team. In general, I supported the team in everything they needed help with: courses, worksheets, planning, organizing and carrying out projects, tidying up and cleaning the center.

How was the cooperation in the team on site?

The staff and the Project management of the Minibiblioteca are all very nice. I felt like an important part of the team, participated in all meetings and felt very welcome at all times.

During my time in Nicaragua I learned a lot from the lovely children (although sometimes working with them can be quite exhausting) as well as from the staff. I was so sad to say goodbye to this wonderful country and to its great people at the end of my stay.

What did you do in your free time?

Apart from my work in the project, the time in Nicaragua was great! I often spend the weekends on the beach with fellow volunteers or with explored the country by taking a bus somewhere. I have made many great friendships with locals, other foreign volunteers and my host family.
Do you miss Nicaragua now that you are back home?

Now that I’m back, I miss so much about Nicaragua, for example, the Comedor around the corner, where we ate regularly or bought a bag of freshly fried Platanitos (plantains) on our way home, climbing volcanoes, enjoy salsa dancing in the bars as well as „bolsitas“ (frozen water ice from small plastic bags), or hitchhiking back home from the beach on an old pick up truck.

But most of all I miss the lightheartedness, the stress-free life and the warmth of the people there. Many of them although they own very little, always share everything with you.

It is impossible to summarize the nine months in such a short text, but in the end it was a wonderful experience, full of precious moments that I will never forget.

Warm regards,

Anna (Germany)

Read more About Anna’s Project here.

 


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Education, Art & Tourism Development in Zanzibar

Jördis from Germany volunteered in the Mother Nature Conservation Camp in Zanzibar for two months. She brought her skills as an artist into the design of the village school and a local pottery initiative. Here you can read more about her experiences:

I spent a wonderful time volunteerig in the Mother Nature Conservation Camp in Zanzibar. It was one of the best decision in my life to go there and to use my skills as an artist to design the local school facade of the nursery school in Kitogani. To work together with the school kids and to show them how to use their creativity was one of my biggest pleasures.

I also was happy to cooperate with the local pottery women where I gave a workshop to create little clay turtels as tourists gifts to support a local turtle and tortoise conservation program. There was the chance for me to support the local cave tourism as well as getting a deeper understanding in traditional plant medicine.

 

 

In total I learned a lot about the local culture, ways of life and traditions and I found a new family here. I am glad that World Unite! gave me the possibility to work closely with the local people and to support their projects and I would like to say thank you for that. I hope we will stay in touch and work together again at some time in the future!

All the best,

Jördis (Germany)

Read more about the Mother Nature Conservation Camp here.

 


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Waste Recycling Workshop at Village School in Zanzibar

Lisa, our coordinator for environmental conservation and recycling gives you an update about the recent activities in our sea turtle conservation and environmental education Project in Nungwi, Zanzibar. 

Hello from beautiful Zanzibar!

Did you know that we are following a community approach here in our Sea Turtle Conservation and Recycling Project? This means that we are trying to work with the village community of Nungwi to promote environmental conservation activities.

In our project we recycle garbage and make useful objects out of it. However, in order to avoid waste, it’s important that even the youngest members of a community can acquire knowledge and information about waste, waste separation and how to avoid waste. Therfore, our volunteers have come up with a special idea: From now on, we will regularly offer waste prevention workshops at the non-profit village school in Nungwi. The school is for cildren between three and six years.

In our first workshop, our volunteers and a teacher informed the kids about waste separation. Unfortunately, there is no functioning waste separation system on Zanzibar and often garbage is simply burned. The aim of our workshop was to teach the children why we should separate garbage to protect our environment. Meanwhile, our volunteers prepared a garbage separation system in the schoolyard, and then collected and separated garbage together with the children. We separated residual waste, recyclable waste (such as bottles) and compost waste.

We were pleased to see that many of the older children were able to apply what they had learned directly and assisted their younger classmates in the waste separation. In order to ensure the sustainability of our initiative, in the future we will regularly hold environmental education workshops at the village school. If you have ideas for workshops and want to get involved – Karibu!

Best regards from Zanzibar,

Lisa

Read more about our sea turtle and recycling project on this link.

 


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Ayurveda Internship in Jaipur, India

Do you want to travel abroad and gain new experiences for your job? Johannes from Germany is a physiotherapist and has completed an internship at an Ayurveda clinic in India to learn more about naturopathic treatment methods. In our blog, he talks about his experience. 

 

Johannes, tell us about your Ayurveda internship in India!

My internship was a great experience and everybody here took care of me. At the Ayurveda Clinic, the staff members shared their Chai Tea with me on a daily basis, and two of the staff members always translated for me, so I could talk to the patients, since not everyone here speaks English. Thus, I have learned a lot about the procedures in the clinic. I also learned a lot about the culture and the treatment methods: I feel I gained indepth experience in the field of naturopathy and how to produce ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurvedic medicine, nothing is wasted!

What was your best experience in Jaipur?

One of my favorite memories is my visit to the Taj Mahal. I also visited many temples and forts in my free time. The buildings are very impressive.

What has left a special impression on you during your stay?

I will always remember the friendliness of the people. I got the impression that everyone around me was always trying to help me. During my entire stay I did not meet anybody who was in a bad mood. I felt like I was in good hands in a big family where everyone cares about everyone.

Would you recommend World Unite! to others?

Yes, World Unite! and the local coordinators in Jaipur are great and literally took care of everything. If you have problems, you can always contact the staff. Thank goodness I did not have any.

All in all, my stay was great and I wouldn‘t want to miss this experience!

Best regards,

Johannes, from Germany

Read more about our internships in India on http://www.world-unite.de/en!


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Initiative Against Plastic Waste in Zanzibar

Do you want to volunteer abroad to protect our environment? Are you tired of seeing our oceans and beaches worldwide drowning in plastic waste? In their exciting report, our participants Charline, Marielle and Patricia talk about their Takataka (Swahili for „garbage“) project in the tropical island paradise of Zanzibar: Increasing plastic waste poses a serious problem for the island as well as for humans and animals living there. Read how Charline, Marielle and Patricia help to avoid garbage in a sustainable way! 

 

Charline explains how she started the project:

It all started with a visit to the village of Charawe in the east of Zanzibar. After about a 20-minute ride on a dirt road with Mohammed, my local coordinator at the Mother Nature Forest Camp, we arrived in a small village. Charawe is relatively secluded, so no Dala-Dalas (minibuses of public transport) operate there. The living standards in the village are simple and the people in the village live rather modest lifes.

However, with its pristine nature, huge mangroves, and numerous spices coming from there, the village has a lot to offer visitors!

Unfortunately, I noticed something quite different right at the beginning: the large amounts of plastic waste scattered all over the village.

Mohammed and I quickly agreed that we wanted to make a lasting difference to this situation. We discussed our ideas and a little later had the opportunity to communicate these to the village chief. Just a few days later, the garbage in the village was to be collected on two consecutive days.


Thanks to Mohammed’s large social network, we were able to persuade another five volunteers for our venture. Together with nine volunteers, we finally cleaned up: Equipped with garbage bags and gloves we began our work. Many villagers quickly joined in, whether adults or children. In just two days, we removed three small trucks full of garbage from the village!

However, we felt that we had not done enough. On the one hand, because we still found tons of plastic garbage in the village and, on the other, because such a collection campaign as a stand-alone action is not sustainable enough.

Therefore, we decided to hold workshops in schools on the health effects of plastic and to train children in distinguishing between different types of waste. In a village like Charawe, where the population is a high percentage of children, this is especially important. In order to provide the children with additional incentives to keep their village clean, all children were allowed to choose a part of the clothing donations we had collected.

We were aware that we can not initiate sustainable changes with a one-time action. So we came back to Charawe again.

Using a self-designed blackboard that classifies the different types of waste, Mohammed and I spent another day in the village, trying to educate as many people as possible about plastic waste. On this day, we also installed five garbage cans scattered around the village. These were funded through donations, which I could collect through a Facebook call and support from other volunteers.

Four days later we came back to check the results of our action. My first impression, however, was somewhat disillusioning: The first two garbage bins that I checked were hardly (but nevertheless!) used and hardly any students at the local school seemed to have participated. Luckily, my day got a little better, as we discovered that the rest of the garbage bins had been used much more and in total 30 children from the school had collected garbage and about the same number of bags of rubbish were ready for collection.

Nevertheless, we did not want to end our work yet. Mohammed announced that we would be back in three days to collect garbage together with the children once more.

When we arrived in the village on the following Thursday I was completely flattened. There was still garbage around, but it seemd to be much less. And the closer we got to the school, the more often we discovered filled garbage bags leaning against houses. Arriving at the school me, Mohammed and two new volunteers, which I had been able to inspire to join the project, got to see the reward for our work: along the entire school building there were full trash bags! We were totally excited! Afterwards, we collected – for the time being – garbage for the last time together with the villagers. On this day again over 100 garbage bags could be removed, as well as the full garbage cans.

I think we’ve made the first steps towards life in a clean village. I hope that the villagers feel comfortable in their clean environment and will finally benefit from tourism.

In addition to the project in Charawe, similar projects have been started in the villages of Muungoni and Kitogani. The beaches Paje, Jambiani and Makunduchi will hopefully follow soon. A total of 6 garbage bins have already been installed and another 20 have been funded by donations.

Unfortunately, my time at the Mother Nature Forest Camp is now over. However, thanks to the help of my two new fellow campaigners, I am sure that this project will be continued and hope for many new volunteers who also want to fight against the plastic waste problem in Zanzibar.

Best regards,

Charline

Do you want to support Charline’s initiative? As a volunteer at the Mother Nature Forest Camp you can help to keep the project going!


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Medical Elective in Zanzibar – Josie and Lara at the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Stone Town

Have you always dreamed of gaining experience abroad during or after your studies? Let Josie‘s and Lara’s story inspire you, who traveled to the tropical island paradise Zanzibar for their medical internship and worked in a local hospital.

We traveled to Zanzibar and lived in a host family together were everyone treated us like a part of the family straight from the beginning.

We stayed in StoneTown for 5 weeks, the historic center of Zanzibar Town – the perfect base to go on excursions all over the island. World Unite! was very helpful and always assisted us with the arrangements of our trips and excursions. We can recommend the Safari Blue, the Spice Tour and a paddle tour. We also loved strolling along the beach and to explore the many narrow streets and small shops in Stone Town.

In the weekly meetings with our local coordinators we were able to discuss anything we needed assistance with and were always helped immediately. Also, the meetings allowed us to meet other World Unite! participants who worked in other projects in Zanzibar Town.

Our host family also helped us to get to know the culture, country, people and culinary delights. We were very grateful for that! A change for us was that in Zanzibar many things sometimes take a little longer than we are used to from home. Hustle and bustle does not seem to be common here. Always pole pole!

We worked at the local hospital „Mnazi Mmoja Hospital Zanzibar“. We were first in the oncology department and then in pediatrics. All doctors, nurses and other staff treated us in a very friendly and open manner. For us it was particularly exciting to make out the differences to the German health system. Often, less or very simple means are available than we know from home, e.g. there were no tourniquets available for blood sampeling. Instead, the doctors used the rubber band from their rubber gloves.

At the end of our internship, we donated our gloves, disinfectants and work clothes tot he hospital, which they were very happy about.

On of the best parts of our trip was a two day safari in Tanzania.

One can hardly put this journey into words and we highly recommend making this experience yourself!

Many thanks to the team of World Unite! It was an unforgettable time!

Best regards,

Josie and Lara

Read more about the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar on this link!