Giving “Hope” through Volunteering
Not only do the children of Tumaini require financial support, we can also put your personal skills to good use. We have private quarters at Tumaini House for our volunteers and have already welcomed four from different parts of the world.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
First things first. Please send me, Cherie Szucs (or Mama Dee as I’m called in Tanzania) an email, (email@example.com) outlining your dates of availability (can be a minimum of two weeks but usually up to two or three months at a time), your own set of personal skills, and what it is you are hoping to achieve while with us. Many volunteers want to teach the children, working on English or reading or math skills. Some prefer to work with the two AIDS groups we are affiliated with. Some people may wish to work in our gardens or on some of our businesses and some of you may wish to help us with bettering Tumaini House itself. Many options are available and we can fine tune your volunteer experience to your own preferences AND, should you wish, tie it into a safari (many national parks including the Serengeti are very close), or a climbing expedition (Mount Kilimanjaro is less than one hour away by vehicle), so that you experience both the beautiful natural elements Africa offers AND a most rewarding experience of working with some very lucky children.
You will need the required immunizations and malaria prophylactics in order to travel to Tanzania and we can help you with that. Further, you will need to calculate your air fare, insurance and travel costs to Arusha. Flights are often cheaper into Nairobi, Kenya or Dar Es Salam, Tanzania but if you can find your way to Kilimanjaro Airport or the city of Arusha, we can pick you up! We will help you get your volunteer visa which costs in the range of $200.00 USD for 90 days. Finally, you will pay us (Tumaini Children’s Foundation) $20.00 US per day (or the equivalent), which will cover the costs of your very comfortable accommodation (our volunteer house sleeps up to fourteen), three very good meals per day, plus a small contribution towards the ongoing support of our children. Having said all of that I would budget in some extra money. I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t found a need (always related to money in such a poor country) they haven’t desired to fill. Further, you will want to shop for carvings, batiks, art, etc., while here!
THINGS YOU WANT TO KNOW
Tanzania is considerably safer than many African countries and I have not, in my travels, even into the cities and the hearts of villages, ever experienced a problem but you do need to respect the state of the nation. Mzungus, as we are called (non-native Africans) are an obvious minority and are often the targets for beggars, pickpockets and snatch and grabs. I do not wear flashy jewelry or carry expensive cameras or large amounts of money around. I dress modestly, especially during Ramadan. Your room at Tumaini will lock and you do not have to give access to anyone else except your roommate(s).
It is your (and your fellow housemates’) responsibility to maintain your room(s) and the house in a satisfactory manner and to follow the rules of Tumaini. A volunteer manual is provided with all our house rules posted (see below), but you will be expected to do your share domestically within the house, and wash your own clothes and dishes in addition to those volunteer tasks you participate in with us.
You are encouraged to bring your own computer if you wish (electricity is inconsistent though) so you can stay in touch with home. You can purchase a cell phone for about $50.00 US and purchase time for international texting (calls get expensive but you can call on SKYPE on the computer for a relatively small fee). “Flash” or USB sticks with “bundles” can be purchased for about $30.00 monthly allowing you your own personal internet service. Failing that, there are several internet cafes in the neighbourhood.
There are often times where we have little or no water for showering and “bucket” showers become de rigeur. Laundry too is done in a bucket and hung to dry.
Our mamas are just learning English and so can be a bit shy but are very capable and always willing to try a new recipe or two so bring something you love from home. Spices are a problem so bring those also! Please let us know in your initial email if you have any serious health issues or allergies.
We have a VERY capable doctor (Dr. Lyimo) who speaks perfect English and whose dispensary is relatively well stocked. I have been sick before when there and he took remarkably good care of me.
Your bank ATM card and/or Visa/MC should work at most banks in Arusha and you can always hook a ride into town once per week for provisions. The local buses or dala dalas are relatively safe alternatives, although it is very easy to get turned around in Arusha or “town” as it is called locally.
We can arrange tours, expeditions, and safaris on your behalf at considerable discounts.
There are many, many issues needing further discussion and we will be happy to provide answers to your enquiries . . . just include them in your initial email . . . other than that, “Karibu sana”, “Welcome” to Tumaini House and Usa River, Tanzania! We wait to hear from you!
Asante, (thank you) from Mama Dee!