During September/October 2015, I joined a volunteer trip with RATA, to Tanzania in Africa for a few weeks to help create and set up two libraries for two different schools.
It was an extremely rewarding, yet eye-opening experience, not only to live in a third world environment; but to become a part of the daily village life, interacting with the kids everyday and literally making a difference to people's lives in more ways than one, was pretty sensational.
I spent my days working in the heat of the Africa sun, sorting through boxes of books from New Zealand that sent over in a container. The books had to be sorted into categories, checked for suitable content (some books were inappropriate for primary school children); and stacked into a custom-built library in a converted container.
There's nothing quite so rewarding as having young children come up to you, begging for the library to be finished quickly, so that they can read the books now. They were so eager and so intrigued by the piles of books they had never seen before.
Our team of 8 kiwi women worked in two sister schools, Joshua School Magugu and Joshua School Arusha, completing two libraries and training teachers skills, technique and interactive lessons.
While on the trip, my additional role was to photograph and document the experience, with a blog to follow our journey as we worked in the different villages.
You can read the blogs via the RATA website here:
In between building the two libraries at the two different schools, we had a three day break, which we took on Safari at Tarangire National Park. We camped overnight in tents where elephants and giraffes wandered near us during the night. The tranquil atmosphere, the animals in their natural untouched habitats and the excitement of lions at prey only a few metres away kept us entertained all day long.
I'd highly recommend anyone to give volunteering in a third world country a go. If you have a passion, a dream or just a will to get out there and help out - do it. It's an unforgettable experience: the daily rewards greatly outweigh any challenges you may face, there are elements that are simply indescribable and once you conquer your own fears or challenges, you are empowered in a whole new light.
Want to go back to the graphic design overview page? Just click here.