Are you looking at volunteering in Uganda and wondering what comes next? Here’s a quick run down on how your trip will roll if you decide that volunteering in Uganda is your calling.
African Volunteer Aid understands that volunteering is a pretty big thing for many people to undertake.
It’s a long way from home and you will be in a country so very different from what you know. Some of our volunteers had never been overseas before their trip with us.
You may be feeling those butterfly nerves in your stomach, but also the thrill of an incredible adventure and a powerful pull to do something that counts, in a really beautiful way.
Our team do everything possible to make sure you feel safe, confident and ready to touch down in Uganda and start changing lives: yours, and theirs!
Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your time volunteering in Uganda.
Support Before You Leave
From you first enquiry on you will have access to knowledgeable and experienced volunteer support. Ask as many questions as you like and feel free to voice any fears (if your parents are feeling uncomfortable about you going, they are welcome to jump on a call too).
We’ve all been there, we completely understand how you are feeling and what you are going through. We’d love to pass on our knowledge of our experiences from how to raise funds to what to pack. We’ve got your back.
You will be safe with us from start to finish and we ask you questions as well to make sure the experience you book is the right one you’re your skill set and personality type.
TIPS, RULES, CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE DE-SHOCK
We have your stay set up so that you experience the true feeling of living in an African community. We don’t just drop you off and leave you to it though, we ease you in with an intro session and send you a pre-project manual for you to read and learn so you can hit th ground running.
There is no need to throw you into a culture shock situation, especially when you will feel right at home in about five seconds flat. We will help you to learn all about etiquette, clothing and interaction. It’s a great heads up on the what-to-nots and how-to-dos. While living in the community is a special and incredible experience we understand that, in an unfamiliar landscape, some guidelines and instructions are going to go a long way in helping you relax, go with the flow and create a feeling of mutual respect from minute one.
This is also when we brief you on the project you will be working on, the materials you will be handling and any safety and history information we’d like you to have on the area.
As always, you are welcome to ask any questions or get further details as you need them.
A Priceless Experience
There is nothing more enriching or rewarding than when you truly help someone.
We have found ways to take that incredible warm feeling and amplify it, quite a lot.
It’s important to us that your time as a volunteer is actually spent helping people. We ensure that you are working on projects that are actually required and will bring long-term benefits to the community. You will have a very real understanding of your project, how your contribution will make a difference, and why it is important to this particular village.
We go further than that though, we arrange for you to live in the community and swap life stories, laughter and friendship. As well as creating lifelong bonds you will also learn about the local history, traditions and customs, wildlife, social life and culture. Because of this experience you truly get to know what it is you are helping to build, you will maintain a natural respect for the people and get to know them on a deep and genuine level.
What you can expect weather-wise will depend on the time you are looking to travel. If you travel in the wet season you will probably find it quite hot during the day with heavy rains at night (this is a beautiful experience, listening to the rains fall and feeling everything cool down).
If you travel in the dry season the temperature is more moderate with little to no rain.
When you book you will be sent a welcome pack with all the information you need about what to pack and what you’ll need.
Once you know your destination it’s a good idea to do some research on the weather for your travel dates, just to get an overall view. Of course, weather in any country can be temperamental some days and do the opposite of the forecast.
Overall, as a general rule you can expect sunshine so bring a quality hat or two plus sunscreen. Mornings can be cool so do pack jumpers and always have rain gear handy, even in the dry season.
Home Away From Home
Our team, local staff and community help volunteers quickly feel at home as one big family.
We have staff on the ground who are there to help you settle in, answer questions and provide support.
You will be housed in volunteer guest homes with dedicated staff who will ensure your stay is comfortable. You will also get to experience sleeping under a mosquito net, eating locally and traditionally prepared meals and laughing and talking and sharing life stories.
Each weekday you’ll be busy contributing to your new community. You will work side by side with the local people and gain an understanding of their daily tasks and the rhythm of life in Africa.
While you work you learn, teach, talk and laugh. You will take breaks, especially if the weather is hot and your project is outdoors. Most breaks come with meals and everyone will eat together waiting to cool off or just spending some time recharging.
Evenings are a time for socialising and getting to know the people you live and work with as well as your fellow volunteers, or maybe even sneak in a game of soccer with the locals.
Even though you will be busy meeting the goals of your projects, there is plenty of free time to spend connecting with the community, sharing stories or maybe just enjoying the African atmosphere and connecting back to you.
Evenings and weekends are yours to do as you please. You might use this time to make a journal, call friends and family, meditate, sit and chat or learn more about your amazing environment.
Getting Out and About
If you are hoping to explore some of Africa while you are volunteering, you are in luck!
Weekend getaways are a perfect way to get out and about and experience some sights and attractions that are not found anywhere else on earth.
It’s a pay-as-you-go system and you can choose to take a cultural tour, a city tour, a safari adventure, or city break. There is so much on offer– the possibilities are endless.
Volunteering is a weeklong venture and although there may be optional activities you can take advantage of on project during the week, your weekends are yours to relax, explore and venture out and about. It’s about what you want to see and how you want to experience Africa.
Our team on the ground can recommend some destinations and can help you book your tour.
No other place on earth has the incredible, majestic wildlife of Africa. It is what truly sets it apart from other continents. If you would like to experience some of Africa’s most famous inhabitants then we encourage you to use your free time to go on a weekend safari.
Uganda has some of everything, it is very easy to take a break and head to the savannah for some wildlife spotting and to soak up the incredible beauty of the National Parks.
You will love every minute of volunteering in Uganda, designed for growth, strength and building ability. If you have any questions our team in Australia will be more than happy to support you and give you the guidance you need to make the right decision for your time abroad.
– Jess Charlotte