African Volunteers

Bethany Barret Uganda

What members of staff do you remember the most and why? 

All members of staff were lovely – Denis and James were my favourite!

What were your impressions of the accommodation?
Exactly what I was expecting – basic but absolutely fine. The cold showers weren’t great but compared to the houses we saw out there, we were living in luxury!

Why did you want to volunteer?
I have always wanted to volunteer and decided to set myself the challenge. I left my university course and knew I needed something amazing to put on my personal statement when applying for my next course. It was scary putting myself on a plane to Uganda alone but it was the best thing I have ever done.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes I would say so, although not as much as I would have liked. I was only there for three weeks, so if I had stayed longer I feel I would have made more of an impact.

What did you do for fun?
Nightclubbing and safari!

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
The weekend safari was truly the greatest weekend of my life. I have always wanted to go on safari and it didn’t disappoint. The first night we stayed in a lodge, where we had a male lion wandering around outside, then later an elephant casually strolled past the window. The second night we camped on the border of the Congo, with only a river in between. In the river were about 50 hippos, which casually wandered past our tents and found it funny to wake us up with the crashing sound of them belly flopping into the river. Best weekend ever.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
Everyone was lovely – I liked the wide age range of volunteers when I first arrived. Gradually more younger people turned up, mainly girls, which was nice and I made a lot of friends.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
Sal’s – nightclub on a Friday. SO much fun! Sky Blue – restaurant.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
I would 100% go back to Uganda, but I am currently looking at doing the project in Peru next year to see a little bit more of the world!

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
DO IT! Before I left, I begged so many of my friends to come with me for fear of travelling alone. Their response was “no it’s not for me” (etc, etc) As soon as I returned home and put my pictures on Facebook, I have had about 15 people beg me to take them with me the next time I go. If I hadn’t gone I would have regretted it forever. And travelling alone is the best thing I’ve done. It’s given me the confidence to do things I otherwise wouldn’t have done. If I ever say, “I can’t”, my mum quickly reminds me, “if you got yourself to Uganda and back on your own, you can do this!”

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
I went in June which in my opinion was perfect – There was about 15 of us volunteers when I arrived which was nice. As I was leaving and school holidays at home had broken up, there were far more of us.