Overall Rating:/ 10I cannot put into words how incredible this experience was for me. I left my home by myself the day after I turned 18, and needless to say, I was petrified. However, everything I was worried about ended up not being an issue! I was greeted at the airport by Douglas and Simba and they were incredibly friendly from the moment I met them. They gave me a tour of Victoria Falls (which is incredibly beautiful and very safe), took me by the local teams office to meet the employees there, and then took me to my homestay. Douglas knew my host very well, and helped me to feel at home
My homestay was phenomenal. I had the greatest experience there. My host mom welcomed me into her home and we are lifelong friends as a result. I felt very safe, very wanted, and very happy there. Staying in a home is great because you get to fully experience another culture. The hotel experience is the same wherever you are in the world, but a homestay lets you really meet new people. Half of my favourite memories in Zimbabwe came from my host mom, her family, and her friends. Douglas and Simba offered to drive me to and from the office each day, but I preferred to walk. The community is very safe, and aside from attention that I wasn't used to, it was an easy walk. I made so many friends and everyone was very friendly.
I loved working with the team. Because most of their hands-on work happens during the school year, I spent most of my time learning about how HIV/AIDS affected women. I used this experience for my senior project, and it was perfect for that. The team is incredibly knowledgeable and it's clear
they love what they do. They welcomed me very quickly into their office family and I had a great time. I made lifelong friends each day at work as well.
I got the chance to learn about what the local team does, and it's incredibly important for the community. I got to help with a sanitary pad distribution for girls in the community and visit the rural area, all while learning, making new connections, and increasing my awareness for the world around me.
There are plenty of opportunities for tourism, which you should definitely take advantage of. Victoria Falls is stunning, and truly a natural wonder of the world. I recommend Devil's Pool if you're there during the right season! The local team is incredibly flexible and willing to help you get around to these activities. There is plenty of time after work and on the weekends to explore. The wildlife is so interesting, and it is amazing to see animals like baboons and warthogs just running around the street. If you're there during the right time, you'll get to see wild elephants just hanging out.
I highly, highly recommend coming to Victoria Falls and working with Love Volunteers local partners. I guarantee it will be a life changing experience. I plan to come back and visit my friends soon, and I'm counting down the days until I'm back in this amazing place!