If travel helps us opens our eyes and see the world, volunteering changes how we connect and interact with those whom with we co inhabit this world.
That is why volunteering is an integral part of the UnCollege Gap Year Program.
Introducing UnCollege Tanzania
UnCollege chose to set up a Voyage destination in Tanzania to provide a rural experience that could help young people escape the routine and make an impact. But what does that really mean? What does life in Moshi, Tanzania really look like?
To help better explain Moshi and the UnCollege volunteer experience, we sat down with our on the ground coordinator, Louis Bonzon, to discuss what makes Tanzania an unforgettable opportunity.
UnCollege: What inspired you to start Tanzania Volunteers?
Louis: In 2006, I was working for a volunteer company in Bali. It felt good to be dedicated to a cause, but the company I was working for was providing very bad service for both the community and volunteers. I waited for change, but it didn’t come. I decided to strike out on my own and start something new. I think what we’ve created, Tanzania Volunteers (TVL), in Moshi is something that really benefits both volunteers and the community – it just works.
What is the best part of your job?
To solve all that is needed in the community, to go beyond TVL's volunteer's expectations. When we do that, it just feels good.
What is your favorite story about a volunteer who worked with your organization?
Jenni Salmén. She came to Tanzania as a social worker in 2011 and worked for 4 months. She came back again in 2013 for a holiday. Then, she came back again in August 2014 as TVL's volunteer coordinator. Now she is working half in Finland and half in Tanzania. Jenni is amazing, but when any volunteer returns to Moshi, it’s special. It proves that what we do is beneficial. Everyone feels the positive impact.
What is your favorite thing about the people in Moshi?
You see smiles all the time and everywhere. No matter how poor people are, there is always a way; a solution to a problem is just around the corner. That is the mindset here. Tanzanians embraces help and foreigners are treated special here.
What is your favorite thing to do in Moshi?
Go out for a dinner. Our food is unmatched.
What is the longest time a volunteer has stayed with you?
We had one volunteer from Finland for 5 months.
Where is the farthest place a volunteer has come from?
From New Zealand.
What is one piece of advice you have for volunteers coming to your organization?
Well, it’s worth of coming to Tanzania. I can prove this not with data, but with tears. 70% of people who are living in the volunteers house and flying back home cry when they choose to leave. There is a lot to connect with here; a lot to see and do. Learning a new culture is one thing that changes volunteers in a positive way. Thats is why we have number of volunteers coming back.
What type of volunteer thrives the most at your organization?
Volunteers who work with children.
What surprises volunteers the most when they get here?
The house - which they call it home. Food and everything is nicer than expected.
What’s one fact everyone in the world should know about Moshi?
Hakuna Matata – No problem. It’s easy going, nice people, very simple and cheap.
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Coming to Tanzania is a no-regret choice. People love it. Making friends is another thing that make people loves it. See people smiling and how people appreciate your presence, it makes Moshi to be different with other destinations.