As part of the orientation for volunteers, CCS requires us to participate in a series of three online video conferences. I just completed two of the three with Emma from CCS. There were about eight of us on the video call as she walked us through important information and steps to take to prepare for our volunteer experience. I booked my trip months ago and it has seemed so far off but during the last call, it hit home just how close departure time is and that I basically have about eight or nine weeks to get working on my Swahili.
Emma emphasized that knowing some basic Swahili phrases would make our experience that much more enjoyable and valuable. As she put it, "it gets exhausting after a day of playing charades". I am going to order some Swahili kids' books to help me with the language.
My immunizations from Kenya are still valid so I think I'll just need a tetanus shot and some malaria medication.
Some points she covered in the call:
- long skirts and covered shoulders for women while at the volunteer assignments
- we'll be handwashing our clothes and ironing everything (even undergarments) to kill any mango mealybug eggs (sounds yummy!)
- all meals will be authentic Tanzanian cuisine
- don't bother with credit cards - cash society so bring US dollars for extra curricular activities (safari) and Tanzanian shillings for local purchases
- no alcohol on the home base - zero drug tolerance (duh!)