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christinab

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Hi guys! My name is Christina and I'm an 18-year-old girl who would like to volunteer for a hospital placement in Africa for about 2 weeks. I am looking for a friend to volunteer with me, because my parents are not letting me go alone, and I need their financial support for the trip. The country is undecided, but the price would be somewhat between $500 and $700 (airfare, visa, and travel insurance not included). If you are interested in doing medical volunteer work and meet a new friend, feel free to message me! :)

If you have done volunteer work in the past (anywhere in the world), please do recommend an organization! :) I would also love to hear about your volunteer work and how it is recommended/not recommended. Anything relating to volunteering in Africa is much appreciated. Thanks.
 
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deleted707454


I second this.

Are you in a hurry? If not, I would recommend Peace Corps - Most of the posts in sub-Saharan Africa are relatively easy to join, given that you meet the minimum requirements (bachelors degree, minimal experience). It is really a life-changing experience. It will also give you a much different perspective, as compared to short term trip. In general, I would say that short term missions are for the betterment of those who participate in them, while long term ones are for the betterment of the communities served.

That being said, there might be different outcomes for true medical missions. One of my inspirations for a career in medicine was Dr. Sanduk Ruit, an ophthalmologist who works in performing cataract surgeries in the Himalayas. These are short term projects, but have a profound impact on the people served. I would love to hear other SDNers' experience in medically related humanitarian work.

Source:
-Experience with 2 short term missions
-Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
 

jblil

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I would NOT go to Sub-Saharan Africa right now, esp. as an 18 y-o female. The security situation is too volatile, even in countries that used to be "safe" (e.g., Senegal).

I spent 27 months in Africa (Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Zaire, Kenya) both in the boonies and in capitals. I still keep in touch with many local colleagues in those countries, so I think I have a much more granular view of what's going on than what is reported in the news - which isn't much.
 
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deleted707454

I would NOT go to Sub-Saharan Africa right now, esp. as an 18 y-o female. The security situation is too volatile, even in countries that used to be "safe" (e.g., Senegal).

I spent 27 months in Africa (Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Zaire, Kenya) both in the boonies and in capitals. I still keep in touch with many local colleagues in those countries, so I think I have a much more granular view of what's going on than what is reported in the news - which isn't much.

I would add that with organizational support, and consideration to US travel advisories, it is relatively safe endeavor. Cities can be dangerous, sure (rural areas are a lot safer) but how is that so much different than the US? Also, don't let your age or gender, or bad press hinder you from what could be an amazing and enlightening experience.
 

christinab

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I second this.

Are you in a hurry? If not, I would recommend Peace Corps - Most of the posts in sub-Saharan Africa are relatively easy to join, given that you meet the minimum requirements (bachelors degree, minimal experience). It is really a life-changing experience. It will also give you a much different perspective, as compared to short term trip. In general, I would say that short term missions are for the betterment of those who participate in them, while long term ones are for the betterment of the communities served.

That being said, there might be different outcomes for true medical missions. One of my inspirations for a career in medicine was Dr. Sanduk Ruit, an ophthalmologist who works in performing cataract surgeries in the Himalayas. These are short term projects, but have a profound impact on the people served. I would love to hear other SDNers' experience in medically related humanitarian work.

Source:
-Experience with 2 short term missions
-Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

Thank you so much for your reply! I think that Peace Corps volunteer programs are only for U.S. citizens (I might be wrong), and I am not a U.S. citizen :/ I understand your point and cannot agree more. That is why I have been very careful in choosing which program I might volunteer in. I have come in contact with a nurse who has lived and worked in many places in Africa for over 20 years. She has given me the contact info of a local project manager, who runs small projects in rural Kenya with his family. My other choice is working as a medical assistant at mobile clinics, where I will help a medical team at a cured leper village. This medical team visits the village twice a week. They have been doing it for five years, and are constantly looking for short-term and long-term volunteers due to the lack of personnel and money for medication (Volunteers have to pay $150 donation fee that will go to the medicine, although more is welcomed). I am considering these two projects, but I'm also open to other projects and opinions, so thank you so much for your input :)
 
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deleted707454

Thank you so much for your reply! I think that Peace Corps volunteer programs are only for U.S. citizens (I might be wrong), and I am not a U.S. citizen :/ I understand your point and cannot agree more. That is why I have been very careful in choosing which program I might volunteer in. I have come in contact with a nurse who has lived and worked in many places in Africa for over 20 years. She has given me the contact info of a local project manager, who runs small projects in rural Kenya with his family. My other choice is working as a medical assistant at mobile clinics, where I will help a medical team at a cured leper village. This medical team visits the village twice a week. They have been doing it for five years, and are constantly looking for short-term and long-term volunteers due to the lack of personnel and money for medication (Volunteers have to pay $150 donation fee that will go to the medicine, although more is welcomed). I am considering these two projects, but I'm also open to other projects and opinions, so thank you so much for your input :)

Yes, only for U.S. Citizens... In that case, I would recommend VSO International http://www.vsointernational.org/volunteer

In my time abroad, I met many folks from Europe, Asia, Canada, etc who were with that organization, and I was impressed.

Their youth volunteering (18-25 pending degree) may possibly require EU citizenship though. Professional volunteers can be from anywhere, I believe.
 

christinab

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I would NOT go to Sub-Saharan Africa right now, esp. as an 18 y-o female. The security situation is too volatile, even in countries that used to be "safe" (e.g., Senegal).

I spent 27 months in Africa (Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Zaire, Kenya) both in the boonies and in capitals. I still keep in touch with many local colleagues in those countries, so I think I have a much more granular view of what's going on than what is reported in the news - which isn't much.

Thank you for the response. Safety is extremely important, and that is exactly why I was hoping to volunteer with a partner. Could you maybe clarify what you mean by a granular view of what's going on? I am considering Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya.
 

christinab

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Yes, only for U.S. Citizens... In that case, I would recommend VSO International http://www.vsointernational.org/volunteer

In my time abroad, I met many folks from Europe, Asia, Canada, etc who were with that organization, and I was impressed.

Their youth volunteering (18-25 pending degree) may possibly require EU citizenship though. Professional volunteers can be from anywhere, I believe.

I have an EU citizenship :) will take a look at that! Thank you so much for your help :)
 

jblil

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Thank you for the response. Safety is extremely important, and that is exactly why I was hoping to volunteer with a partner. Could you maybe clarify what you mean by a granular view of what's going on? I am considering Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Granular view = I can call up friends who live in Kinshasa, Nouakchott, Dadaab or Dakar, and they will tell me what's going on in the city or the country. I don't have to rely on newspapers - they don't talk much about Africa anyway.

The problem with a lot of African countries is that they are thoroughly corrupt and there is no "rule of law" as we know it in the US or in Western Europe. There is a reason why Kenya's Nairobi is nicknamed Nairobbery.

Of the 3 countries you mentioned, I'd go to Ghana or Tanzania before Kenya. Kenya is too close to Somalia and the Al-Shabab for my taste.

One of my colleagues in Africa was kidnapped - and later released (probably ransomed out). So unfortunately I have first-hand experience with this stuff.
 
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deleted707454

Granular view = I can call up friends who live in Kinshasa, Nouakchott, Dadaab or Dakar, and they will tell me what's going on in the city or the country. I don't have to rely on newspapers - they don't talk much about Africa anyway.

The problem with a lot of African countries is that they are thoroughly corrupt and there is no "rule of law" as we know it in the US or in Western Europe. There is a reason why Kenya's Nairobi is nicknamed Nairobbery.

Of the 3 countries you mentioned, I'd go to Ghana or Tanzania before Kenya. Kenya is too close to Somalia and the Al-Shabab for my taste.

One of my colleagues in Africa was kidnapped - and later released (probably ransomed out). So unfortunately I have first-hand experience with this stuff.

Kenya is increasingly dangerous, as radical Islam is spreading there. Tanzania, however, is safe and stable. People there are very friendly, and help strangers. If you have any specific questions about Tanzania, karibu sana. That was my home for the last couple of years.
 

grapp

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Check with the State Departments website for travel warnings.... E.g. kidnapping, terrorism, drug activity, sex trafficing... I've been looking into one as well but it's super important to check the State Departments travel warnings. Best of luck OP.
 
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