Together We Achieve More; Helping Flood Victims

p12481_largeTwo volunteers, Robin and Breanna, and I are about to take the bus for a fun weekend excursion in Nicaragua. It is October. It is the rainy season. It is raining again and since the six am bus never came, we enjoy chatting an extra hour until the next bus comes while trying to stay dry. It poured so heavily this past week a bridge was washed away. We were a little upset because we have to get off our bus, walk across to the other side of the small river, where another bus is waiting to transport us the rest of the way to Liberia, Costa Rica. Here, we are in the back of the line, and when we get on there are no seats available. We will be on foot for the following two hours, where we will find a legit reason to get upset.

Being on foot, we had great views out the windows of the bus, where a serious matter gave us a better reason to be upset. We are in the Santa Cruz and Filadelfia areas where we see cars on the sides of the road with standing water up to their windows. Homes have waters up to the handles on their front doors. I overhear someone mention that her friends’ mattresses were washed away into the river, along with their kitchen table. Houses are evacuated and look a complete wreck. Water is everywhere we look. Turns out, thousands of people were displaced from their homes, and are living in the community salon. These people didn’t have food to eat, nor pans to cook rice in, much less salt or oil to put in their rice.

Once back from Nicaragua we decide we want to help collect donations for these people affected by the flooding. Alex, a local Tico who is free during the day since he works nights, borrows the truck of a friend, and offers to drive our three volunteers and myself around to collect canned goods, toilet paper, diapers, clothing, anything really that people were willing to give. Another local offered to lend us his big speakers to help advertise as we drove by, but that fell through since he ended up needing to repair his speakers. However, our very fun and diverse group representing Italy, Canada, and the US shone through and sang out, “Help the people of Santa Cruz and Filadelfia!” except in Spanish! They were so cute! Breanna didn’t know any Spanish when she got here and Robin came as a beginner, but after a couple weeks of classes and practicing in the community and with their host family, they were able to go door to door and communicate our proposal. I am so proud of them!


Six Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Volunteer Experience

servlet1. Be Open Minded.

The world is full of cultures that are nothing like your own. You may understand that people live differently on a mental level, but the reality can still take you by surprise. Culture shock is not uncommon and can spoil an entire trip. Take the below recommendations to heart and your work abroad will be an even better experience than you imagined.

2. Learn As Much About the Local Culture As Possible.

This means everything from traditional cuisine to what people believe is the right amount of personal space. Luckily you are not the first person to visit wherever you plan to and finding out all the information you need to know (and some that you don’t) is easy online. Basics such as the expected dress, holidays, religion, greeting, political situation are essentials and swayed little by personal experience. At the same time don’t take everything at face value. Keep the advice of others in mind, but form your own opinions about the people you meet.

3. Keep A Journal Of Each Day.

Record everything you think or feel, see and do. Time will both drag forever and zip past and you should remember each. Look back on the experience as a collaborative whole rather than a series of frustrating incidents. For each negative thought or observation, write down something that you liked. This type of cognitive therapy will put the hard moments in perspective and remind you later of the good ones. By human nature, stronger emotions create stronger memories and the emotions that arise after waking up a 5:30 in the morning to take a bus through the pouring rain to a construction site where the other workers who don’t show up can be very strong. Put things in perspective and live in the present.


Volunteer Visions and the Peace Corps

At Volunteer Visions we applaud those who make the commitment to the Peace Corps and UN Volunteers. However, if you are considering joining the Peace Corps, there are a number of reasons to first take part in a Volunteer Visions project.

Let’s begin with the similarities between Volunteer Visions and the Peace Corps.

Both programs are centered on the desire to do something that is both good for the world and an entirely new experience for the individual. By joining you will travel to a foreign country and work towards community development and sustainability.

However, the Peace Corps requires a considerably greater commitment from its participants.

There are four main steps to joining the Peace Corps:

-Complete the application. This step involves
-Meet for an interview
-Get your medical check-ups
-Wait for a placement

This process can take between 3 and 6 months and there is no guarantee where you will be placed. Being open to the unexpected is part of the adventure, but that adventure is a 27 month time commitment.

Peru – Health Care Volunteer Testimonial


1. Tell us a little about yourself

I’m 21, studying Spanish and am finishing my prerequisites for a physician assistant program.

2. What was your housing like?

I lived with a friendly Cusquena family; energetic dad, kind mom, 17-yr-old son, 5-yr-old daughter and completed with a dog and a couple birds. Our house shared our door to the street as well as our address with two other houses (it was it’s own house, but kind of had it’s own “cul da sac” off the street). The bathroom was a separate room outside the house, with inconsistent water. Very Peruvian.

3. What did you eat?

A lot of potatoes and rice, haha. But seriously, the food was good. It’s more natural, and thus healthier, than American food.

4. What did you do during your project placement?

Worked with nurses or alongside physicians in a basic health center that catered to a suburb of Cusco, giving it’s services for free and the medicine too, if the family couldn’t afford to pay. Specific things I did were: to learn to exam a pregnant woman, check for various types of otitis, educate the reasons why a child is getting diarrhea, go to families homes to make sure the hygiene for the children is healthy enough, find tuberculosis under the microscope, test the psychomotor development of a child, etc.

5. What is your most memorable experience?

When Yovana, my favorite nurse, took me out into the neighborhood to the homes of families were the children were suffering from diarrhea and family didn’t score well enough on the hygiene questionnaire. We saw the actual living conditions, if allowed in, and advised on more sanitary ways of doing things. It provided more pressure onto the families to improve their living conditions, as the nurses would continue returning until their score was up to par. What made the day even cooler was since we were up the hill outside of Cusco, Yovana made a little side trip for me to show me some ruins that many of the locals didn’t even know about, telling me about medicinal uses for plants we passed along the way. Definitely a bonding moment 🙂

6. What have you done as a Volunteer that you never thought you would?

Get a different perspective on the “indigenous” side of the community.

7. Do you have any advice for anyone considering joining Volunteer Visions?

Be patient. Peru is not known for its organization.

The Different Way Of Volunteering in Africa


“Never ignore the ability of the small number of individuals that are dedicated to change the planet. Actually, it’s the one thing that actually has.” (Margaret Mead)

Volunteering in Africa has developed into several colors. I’m not likely to complete this item by what I believe is good or negative about various types of volunteering, volunteer motives with criticisms or assisting volunteer organizations. There’s a large selection of action happening and what’s correct for just one offer might not be correct for another, what’s correct for just one neighborhood might not be correct for another, the viewpoint or monetary type of the assisting company can be as combined because it is one of the big and respected development companies, travel companies or any field for instance.

But a typical generalisation of the global volunteer sector needs to finish, the sweeping claims and condescending tones from apparently important business sounds or one time volunteers having a negative experience, who together provide narrow minded guidance to others nowadays, actually must be handled. I’ll identify no names. I’ve trawled lots of posts by which writers possibly appear weakly started to review the field in general or ought to know better, however they clearly do. It gets really boring! So here’s my perspective. Forwards move.Zamibia_E43

I do want to see volunteering like a significantly larger activity in Africa than it’s today. I’d like people all over the world to understand the extraordinary possibilities this creates for volunteers as well as for Africa through joining it. In my experience, this is actually the next generation of community participation and it has the potential to lead good innovative and lasting change that’s impractical before. The best action may bring capabilities, suggestions, understanding and several different individual resources to actually the remotest places — and whilst the whole experience for volunteers may also be incorporated having a sensible and interesting type of vacation, such forgotten places tend to be a plus for that individuals who accept the opportunity of exploring beyond standard. The idea of adding volunteering into vacation and growth usually has been is clearly quite powerful and often must be.

Therefore volunteering isn’t homogenous and in Africa has developed significantly beyond the notorious student gap-year, Raleigh International, US Peace Corps or well known school building projects. Options suitable for motives related to these life stages, longer obligations or passions nevertheless continue to succeed, which may be excellent, however the stage is the fact that there’s possibly a quieter yet substantial development of the global volunteer idea than I assume, and wish, may develop and develop within the coming years. We need more individuals become involved and to comprehend this.

This isn’t a summary of all of the various colors of volunteering I’m conscious of, but provides a little understanding in the viewpoint of the Large Beyond model — and, I’m certain we’re one of many in Africa.

This part is dedicated to our online partners. We know how importatn Social Media is in any Volunteering program. Therefore, we decided to work with devoted team of specialist in this field to promote our projects around the world. Initialy a big thanks goes to our partner who gave us a big website traffic source. Now we do have a panel and monthly campaigns where we can buy web traffic, targeted or international. The effect is just amazing and helped us to increase our donater base. Also, a big thanks goes to our social media partners who also did creat a panel where we can buy promotion services for Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. The service is high quality and the Instagram Followers are mostly interessted person. It was never so easy to buy instagram followers and other plattforms.


Why We’re Different

Volunteer Visions was founded with a simple idea in mind, that volunteering should be affordable and available to everyone. Volunteer Visions opportunities are perfect for anyone interested in the Peace Corps but is unable commit two years, for the college student who wants do something meaningful over their spring break or anyone who wants to experience something new. Volunteering abroad will let you develop real skills and discover your passions. Make a difference by teaching orphans in Africa, protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica or working at a sustainable farm in Ecuador.


View all 45 of our projects in ten countries around the world and be part of the difference with Volunteer Visions. Whatever your motive for volunteering abroad may be, we can help you find a placement that suits your needs.