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AIDS education thanda private game reserve HIV volunteering holiday volunteer trip horses how can i volunteer in africa how to be a volunteer in africa how to become a volunteer how to go to africa how to volunteer how to volunteer abroad How to Volunteer Abroad how to volunteer in Africa how to work and travel how to work in africa Humming bird impact imvelo awards imvelo awards 2012 imvelo awards finalists imvelo awards winners imvelo finalists 2011 Innovative Awards Intern Abroad intern in Africa intern with a charity international earth day international volunteer International Women's Day internship internship african impact internship cape town internships internships abroad internships in africa jambiani job opportunity jobs in africa Jobs in Cape Town Jobs in South Africa Jobs with Lions jungle expedition kenya volunteering kwazulu-natal kzn wildlife large predator last minute lion lion conservation Lion Encounter lion prides lion projects lion rehabilitation lion rehabilitation project lion rehabilitation volunteering lion volunteer africa lion volunteer south africa lion volunteering lion volunteering in Africa Lions lions in africa Live and work in Africa make an impact makeyourimpact making a difference in Africa malawi volunteering marketing Masai Mara masai mara volunteering masai mara warriors Mature Volunteer mature volunteering medical outreach project medical projects in zambia medical support medical volunteer medical volunteer projects Medical volunteer projects in Africa medical volunteering medical volunteering africa medical volunteering in africa medical volunteering zambia mount kilimanjaro Naboisho Conservancy national geographic new projects ngamo pride ngo NGO Internship NGO Jobs non-profit organisations nursing Older volunteering orphan care orphan care africa orphan volunteer projects Orphan Volunteer Projects in Africa over 30's over 30's volunteering packing for the bush packing for travel to Africa Paid volunteering paid volunteering in africa photography africa photography south africa photography volunteer photography volunteering plant trees pre-school volunteering preparing to volunteer programs in Africa project rhino kzn projects africa projects for africa reasons to travel Red Hill reforestation reforestation in africa responsible tourism Responsible travel retirement volunteering rhino rhino poachers rhinos killed in south africa rural school Safari safari africa Save the African Lion save the trees saving rhinos saving the lion saving the lions saving the planet school uniforms africa seychelles Smba Giya social involvement social media Something different for retirement south afric south africa south africa internships south africa rhinos south africa volunteering special offer sponsor a child programme sports volunteer st lucia st lucia south africa St Lucia, South Africa stand out cv stand out resume steve jobs student volunteering sustainability sustainable development sustainable volunteering sustaining trees table mountain tanzania teach abroad teach English abroad teach in africa teach in tanzania teach in zanzibar teaching Teaching Africa teaching in africa teaching in zambia teaching projects in africa Teaching Volunteer Projects in Africa team house tentation THAF Thanda thanda in africa thanda private game reserve the happy africa foundation tips on what to pack tourism tourism cape town tourism south africa tourism zanzibar tourism zimbabwe travel travel africa travel and work overseas travel in Africa travel opportunities travel overseas travel to africa at christmas trees for zambia Trip Advisor trvelling Tuli Game Reserve tweeting UCAS points UCAS points volunteering UK. Established in 2004 UNESCO up close with lions Victoria Falls victoria falls lion victoria falls lions victoria falls volunteer visit africa visit zimbabwe voluntary work africa Voluntary Work in Africa Volunteer volunteer abroad Volunteer Abroad volunteer abroad mozambique volunteer africa volunteer africa children volunteer africa opportunity volunteer africa program volunteer antelope park volunteer at Christmas Volunteer at Christmas volunteer chimfunshi volunteer coordinator volunteer forever volunteer game reserve Volunteer in Africa Volunteer in Africa volunteer in africa with children volunteer in African clinic volunteer in Cape Town Volunteer in Cape Town volunteer in Kenya volunteer in kwazulu natal volunteer in Livingstone volunteer in South Africa Volunteer in South Africa volunteer in Tanzania volunteer in the Masai Mara volunteer in township volunteer in west africa volunteer in Zambia volunteer in Zanzibar volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer lions volunteer mozambique volunteer national park volunteer on conservation projects in Africa volunteer on game reserve volunteer on holiday volunteer on vacation volunteer opportunities volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity abroad Volunteer opprotunities Africa volunteer overseas volunteer overseas work Volunteer programs in Africa volunteer project volunteer projects volunteer projects africa volunteer projects in africa volunteer south africa volunteer St Lucia volunteer stories Volunteer Travel volunteer travel conference volunteer wildlife volunteer with african children volunteer with animals volunteer with animals africa volunteer with animals in africa volunteer with charities in africa volunteer with children volunteer with children africa volunteer with children in kenya volunteer with chimpanzees volunteer with chimps volunteer with elephants volunteer with lions Volunteer with Lions volunteer with monkeys volunteer with orphans volunteer with rhinos volunteer with wildlife volunteer with wildlife in africa volunteer work africa volunteer work health benefits volunteer zambia volunteer zanzibar volunteer zimbabwe Volunteering volunteering abroad volunteering africa volunteering ethics volunteering in africa volunteering in cape town volunteering in Mozambique volunteering in South Africa volunteering in zambia volunteering opportunities volunteering programmes volunteering with animals volunteering with lions volunteering zambia Volunteerism volunteerng volunteers making an impact Voluntourism voluntourism voluntourism ethics voluteer in africa walk with lions walking with lions walking with lions africa What is it like to volunteer in Africa what to do at christmas what to do in Africa what to pack what to pack africa what to wear volunteering where can i volunteer Why pay for volunteering why volunteer Wildlife conservation wildlife conservation volunteering wildlife orphan care wildlife orphanage wildlife photography wildlife photography africa wildlife photography opportunity wildlife photography program wildlife photography project wildlife project africa wildlife rehabilitation wildlife research wildlife research project wildlife research volunteer wildlife volunteer africa Wildlife Volunteer in Africa wildlife volunteer in south africa wildlife volunteer project wildlife volunteer projects wildlife volunteer zimbabwe wildlife volunteering wildlife volunteering africa wildlife volunteering in africa wildlife volunteering in south africa Womens empowerment work abroad work abroad volunteer work and travel abroad work and travel overseas work experience abroad work for charities in africa work gap year work in Africa work in south africa work volunteers Work with animals work with children Work with Children in Africa work with children in south africa Work with Chimpanzees work with elephants Work with Lions work with lions in africa Worki in Africa working abroad working in Africa Working in Zambia Working with Chimps working with lions world aids day Worlds best holiday destination youth travel Zambia zambia africa zanzibar Zimbabwe zimbabwe volunteer projects zulu communities zulu culture zulu dambwa pride

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Volunteering Abroad – A left at Home Mum’s Perspective

Are you in this predicament right now? Is your son or daughter about to embark on the trip of a lifetime? Are you putting on a brave face whilst actually quaking inside at the very thought of your offspring setting off without you?

If so then STOP! Stop it right now. Everything will be fine, truly, those fabulous people at African Impact will make sure it is. Don’t believe me, then read on. Here’s mine and Rachel’s story.

 

 

Oh my goodness, she’s really doing this – help!!!

 Just after her 19th birthday, after a little deliberation, Rachel decided she was going to Cape Town to volunteer with African Impact on the Veterinary and Abused Animal Shelter Project at TEARS. Why? Because she wants to work with dogs back home but needed some experience. How did I feel at this point? Super excited for her – absolutely. Terrified at the same time - no shadow of a doubt. Did I try to talk her out of it – no way!

The whole application process was pretty seamless, no questions too silly to ask and the support from the fabulous Volunteer Co-ordinators over in Cape Town was second to none and so very reassuring, both for Rachel and her worry guts mum!

Before we knew it, flights were being booked….’Mum, shall I fly direct or save some money by having a layover in Dubai?’ You can imagine what was going through my head at this point; Rachel had never flown alone before, never flown outside Europe before and certainly never had to catch a connecting flight on her own before. I’m thinking ‘direct flight, direct flight’. But it was her choice. Saving some money so she could do more activities whilst in South Africa won the day and a layoverin Dubai was scheduled. Oh boy, I thought to myself, more worry! She’s going to be delayed, miss her flight, lose her baggage and be stranded in Dubai!! I had to give myself a stern talking to!

Before we knew it, departure day had arrived. Jabs had been jabbed, suitcase had been packed, unpacked, repacked, weighed, unpacked again then finally repacked once more! Tickets – check, passport – check, money – check. Now, one of the moments I had been dreading. Rachel saying farewell to her best friend, our very old, faithful, family dog. Here came the tears. ‘What if he’s not here when I get back Mum?’ Somehow I held it together…..just.

The trip to London was fine and after an overnight stay with the grandparents, it was finally time for mother and daughter to depart for the airport. Her nerves kicked in. ‘I don’t want to do this any more, can’t we just go back home to my puppy?’ DON’T CAVE I told myself, and I am telling you, it is hard but DON’T DO IT!

The drive to the airport revealed a mixture of emotions from Rachel, tears, laughter, until, that is, I decided to get us lost en route, a useful distraction as Rachel had to go into SatNav mode and get us there in one piece.

Baggage checked, there’s time for a coffee before she has to go through security. We’re calm but quiet, until Dad gives her a call. Oh boy! Thanks Dad, you’ve set her off now. How the hell am I going to hold it together now?!!! Somehow I managed, goodness knows how, especially when she tells me dad was getting emotional down the phone too!

Time to go through security, this was it. Must stay strong, must stay positive, I kept repeating over and over again in my head. Big hugs and she’s gone. She’s saying she doesn’t want to go, but you know she must. As a mum, every fibre of your being is yelling at you to protect her and keep her with you but you have to fight through this and do whatever it takes to get them through that gate and onto that plane. You will kick yourself if you don’t, and so will they - hard!

I watched her go through security successfully, very proud of myself for not turning into a snotty, snivelling wreck. But as I took one more look back, there seemed to be a problem. She was standing there in the distance with her back to me looking down at something. Then my phone rang. ‘Mum, my backpack’s broken, the zip’s gone and I can’t do it back up’ says an obviously very unhappy Rachel. How I prevented myself from leapfrogging over security to get to her to help I really do not know. Not only that, this was when I had the sudden realisation that she now was truly on her own and had to sort herself out without any help from me, now that was hard, I won’t lie. Calmly, I dug deep and told her to go and buy a new bag airside, regardless of the cost, I would pay. Less than 5 minutes later I got another call from Rachel to discuss the new backpack options open to her, obviously much happier, to my relief (well she was shopping, her 2nd favourite pastime, after dogs of course). Now she was truly on her way.

 

She's arrived!!

The build-up, the farewells and the departure were hard, I am not going to lie, but as the hours passed and the number of excited messages flooded in about all different elements of the journey and then finally the message I had been waiting for, that she had arrived safely and been met in Cape Town, it was all more than worth it, without a shadow of a doubt.

 

 

              

                            Rachel at Robben Island                                                              Rachel at the top of Table Mountain

 

 

Yes, the first few days saw a few slightly homesick text messages, but after sleep was caught up with, and friends were made, there was no looking back. ‘Mum I’m going abseiling’, ‘Mum I’m doing a skydive’, ‘Mum, I’m doing a bungee jump’. ‘Mum’ was very excited that Rachel was experiencing everything she possibly could, but ‘Mum’ was also very relieved to receive a text after each activity, saying ‘I’m alive’.

Of course when the volunteering actually started, Rachel was the happiest girl in the world. Totally in her element. To see the sheer joy in her face in the many photos she sent me from TEARS of her working with the dogs, sent away any remaining doubts I may have had about her being so far away from home. Relaxed, contented and without a care in the world. Who could ask more for their child? I looked forward to receiving the little updates about the dogs in her care most evenings and was relieved that she could keep in touch so easily.

After a tearful farewell to her canine friends after 3 weeks volunteering, Rachel had a week on the Garden Route, again soaking up new experiences, meeting new people and making the most of her time in South Africa.

On her return to Cape Town, there was time to pack in a few more days exploring and of course one more trip to TEARS, before beginning her long journey home.

 

               

                         Rachel with her new friends at the dog shelter                                 Taking the dogs for a well-needed walk on the beach

 

 

               

                               Rachel skydiving in Cape Town                                              Visiting the Cape of Good Hope

 

 

What we've taken away from this experience...

During her whole time away, Rachel felt looked after, she felt safe, she felt valued. Most of all, from a Mum’s point of view, she has grown in confidence, she has surprised me with her determination and resolve to try new things from eating ostrich to jumping out of an aeroplane, and she has come home with more of a direction on where she wants life to take her…… back to Cape Town being one of those goals. A true love affair with the place has begun, I think.

Finally, a word of warning to anyone whose son/daughter is about to volunteer on the same project as Rachel. Don’t be surprised if they don’t come back alone. Rachel has decided to adopt one of the TEARS dogs. A very special boy, who she worked tirelessly with during her volunteering, in order to bring on his confidence and trust to the point that from being a very scared dog hiding away in his kennel, he is now learning to play again and is learning that life can be fun. Looking forward to meeting you soon Thomas!

Oh and yes, the very old, faithful friend was still here and was very pleased to have her back!

Thank you African Impact – and watch out, she’ll be back!

 

 

If, like Rachel's mum Sue, your son or daughter wants to volunteer abroad but you're a little nervous, chat to us and we can talk you through the available options!

Or, why not take a read through the following pages?:

 

 

 

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adventures in Africa africa africa conservation program africa internships africa lions africa projects africa tourism Africa Travel africa volunteer africa volunteer experiences africa volunteer oportunities africa volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity africa volunteer program Africa volunteer programs africa volunteer work africa volunteering african elephant African Encounter African Impact african impact internship african impact lions african impact livingstone african lion African Lion & Environmental Research Trust african lion and environmental research trust african travel africanimpact AIDS AIDS education Ajax cape town community Ajax soccer ALERT animal rights animal welfare volunteer animals in africa antelope park anti-voluntourism anti-voluntourism campaign cambodia ASDAN volunteering asli gedik Award winning Organisation Awards best volunteer company BETA BETA finalists big 5 big 5 photography big 5 volunteer big 5 volunteering bikes blogging booking flights Books For Africa Botswana volunteering Botswana's wildlife boulders beach budget travel budget volunteering burn out bush walks BYTA camera traps cameroon expedition cancer survivor Cape Town cape town Cape Town volunteering carbon emission carbon footprint career break career break career break africa career break travel career break volunteer career break volunteering Career Breaks volunteering career change career experience charity charity internship Charity jobs charity work africa Charity Work in Africa charity work in tanzania charties to go to Africa with cheap africa travel cheap flights africa cheap volunteer program cheap volunteering opportunities cheetah chimfunshi chimfunshi wildlife orphanage chimfunshi wildlife sanctuary Chimpanzee Chimpanzee and Wildlife Orphan project Chimpanzee Project chimpanzees chimps Christmas competitions christmas in africa christmas time in africa Christmas volunteering christmas vounteering climate change clinic gweru community development community outreach community projects africa community projects in Africa Community projects in South Africa community volunteer community volunteer africa community volunteer work mozambique community volunteering Community work community work africa community work in africa community work zambia conference conservation conservation africa conservation education conservation in africa Conservation Jobs conservation photography conservation program africa conservation projects conservation volunteer conservation volunteer antelope park conservation volunteer in africa conservation volunteer in south africa conservation volunteer in zimbabwe conservation volunteering conservation volunteering africa conservation volunteering in africa conservation volunteering south africa conservation volunteering Zambia Conservation work conservation work in Africa conservation work with lions Conservaton and Research Volunteering cricket africa dambwa pride deforestation Development Manager discount discounts donate electronics donate to africa donating donating old phones donations for africa eco-bricks education volunteer education volunteering educational volunteering elephant empowering communities Empowering Women Empowerment endangered species Environmental conservation environmental education environmentally friendly ethical voluntourism euthanasia of lion exhaustion expedition in africa explore africa facts south africa family volunteering fitflop forest conservation fundraising gain employment game drives game reserve game reserve volunteering gap year gap year abroad gap year africa gap year africa zimbabwe Gap Year Ideas Gap Year in Africa Gap Year in Teaching Gap Year projects in Africa gap year travel Gap Year Volunteer Projects gap year volunteering gathering Giving back go to africa GoAbroad GoAbroad Innovative Award goodsport GoPro gorilla expedition gorilla research gorilla trekking great volunteer organization great white sharks green pop green projects Green Tourism green volunteering GreenPop group volunteering guide to packing Hands on volunteering happy africa happy africa foundation HAYTAP healthcare volunteering help orphaned animals Helping in arica helping people in africa helping the environment helping the lions HIV awareness HIV education HIV education. AIDS education thanda private game reserve HIV volunteering holiday volunteer trip horses how can i volunteer in africa how to be a volunteer in africa how to become a volunteer how to go to africa how to volunteer how to volunteer abroad How to Volunteer Abroad how to volunteer in Africa how to work and travel how to work in africa Humming bird impact imvelo awards imvelo awards 2012 imvelo awards finalists imvelo awards winners imvelo finalists 2011 Innovative Awards Intern Abroad intern in Africa intern with a charity international earth day international volunteer International Women's Day internship internship african impact internship cape town internships internships abroad internships in africa jambiani job opportunity jobs in africa Jobs in Cape Town Jobs in South Africa Jobs with Lions jungle expedition kenya volunteering kwazulu-natal kzn wildlife large predator last minute lion lion conservation Lion Encounter lion prides lion projects lion rehabilitation lion rehabilitation project lion rehabilitation volunteering lion volunteer africa lion volunteer south africa lion volunteering lion volunteering in Africa Lions lions in africa Live and work in Africa make an impact makeyourimpact making a difference in Africa malawi volunteering marketing Masai Mara masai mara volunteering masai mara warriors Mature Volunteer mature volunteering medical outreach project medical projects in zambia medical support medical volunteer medical volunteer projects Medical volunteer projects in Africa medical volunteering medical volunteering africa medical volunteering in africa medical volunteering zambia mount kilimanjaro Naboisho Conservancy national geographic new projects ngamo pride ngo NGO Internship NGO Jobs non-profit organisations nursing Older volunteering orphan care orphan care africa orphan volunteer projects Orphan Volunteer Projects in Africa over 30's over 30's volunteering packing for the bush packing for travel to Africa Paid volunteering paid volunteering in africa photography africa photography south africa photography volunteer photography volunteering plant trees pre-school volunteering preparing to volunteer programs in Africa project rhino kzn projects africa projects for africa reasons to travel Red Hill reforestation reforestation in africa responsible tourism Responsible travel retirement volunteering rhino rhino poachers rhinos killed in south africa rural school Safari safari africa Save the African Lion save the trees saving rhinos saving the lion saving the lions saving the planet school uniforms africa seychelles Smba Giya social involvement social media Something different for retirement south afric south africa south africa internships south africa rhinos south africa volunteering special offer sponsor a child programme sports volunteer st lucia st lucia south africa St Lucia, South Africa stand out cv stand out resume steve jobs student volunteering sustainability sustainable development sustainable volunteering sustaining trees table mountain tanzania teach abroad teach English abroad teach in africa teach in tanzania teach in zanzibar teaching Teaching Africa teaching in africa teaching in zambia teaching projects in africa Teaching Volunteer Projects in Africa team house tentation THAF Thanda thanda in africa thanda private game reserve the happy africa foundation tips on what to pack tourism tourism cape town tourism south africa tourism zanzibar tourism zimbabwe travel travel africa travel and work overseas travel in Africa travel opportunities travel overseas travel to africa at christmas trees for zambia Trip Advisor trvelling Tuli Game Reserve tweeting UCAS points UCAS points volunteering UK. Established in 2004 UNESCO up close with lions Victoria Falls victoria falls lion victoria falls lions victoria falls volunteer visit africa visit zimbabwe voluntary work africa Voluntary Work in Africa Volunteer volunteer abroad Volunteer Abroad volunteer abroad mozambique volunteer africa volunteer africa children volunteer africa opportunity volunteer africa program volunteer antelope park volunteer at Christmas Volunteer at Christmas volunteer chimfunshi volunteer coordinator volunteer forever volunteer game reserve Volunteer in Africa Volunteer in Africa volunteer in africa with children volunteer in African clinic volunteer in Cape Town Volunteer in Cape Town volunteer in Kenya volunteer in kwazulu natal volunteer in Livingstone volunteer in South Africa Volunteer in South Africa volunteer in Tanzania volunteer in the Masai Mara volunteer in township volunteer in west africa volunteer in Zambia volunteer in Zanzibar volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer lions volunteer mozambique volunteer national park volunteer on conservation projects in Africa volunteer on game reserve volunteer on holiday volunteer on vacation volunteer opportunities volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity abroad Volunteer opprotunities Africa volunteer overseas volunteer overseas work Volunteer programs in Africa volunteer project volunteer projects volunteer projects africa volunteer projects in africa volunteer south africa volunteer St Lucia volunteer stories Volunteer Travel volunteer travel conference volunteer wildlife volunteer with african children volunteer with animals volunteer with animals africa volunteer with animals in africa volunteer with charities in africa volunteer with children volunteer with children africa volunteer with children in kenya volunteer with chimpanzees volunteer with chimps volunteer with elephants volunteer with lions Volunteer with Lions volunteer with monkeys volunteer with orphans volunteer with rhinos volunteer with wildlife volunteer with wildlife in africa volunteer work africa volunteer work health benefits volunteer zambia volunteer zanzibar volunteer zimbabwe Volunteering volunteering abroad volunteering africa volunteering ethics volunteering in africa volunteering in cape town volunteering in Mozambique volunteering in South Africa volunteering in zambia volunteering opportunities volunteering programmes volunteering with animals volunteering with lions volunteering zambia Volunteerism volunteerng volunteers making an impact Voluntourism voluntourism voluntourism ethics voluteer in africa walk with lions walking with lions walking with lions africa What is it like to volunteer in Africa what to do at christmas what to do in Africa what to pack what to pack africa what to wear volunteering where can i volunteer Why pay for volunteering why volunteer Wildlife conservation wildlife conservation volunteering wildlife orphan care wildlife orphanage wildlife photography wildlife photography africa wildlife photography opportunity wildlife photography program wildlife photography project wildlife project africa wildlife rehabilitation wildlife research wildlife research project wildlife research volunteer wildlife volunteer africa Wildlife Volunteer in Africa wildlife volunteer in south africa wildlife volunteer project wildlife volunteer projects wildlife volunteer zimbabwe wildlife volunteering wildlife volunteering africa wildlife volunteering in africa wildlife volunteering in south africa Womens empowerment work abroad work abroad volunteer work and travel abroad work and travel overseas work experience abroad work for charities in africa work gap year work in Africa work in south africa work volunteers Work with animals work with children Work with Children in Africa work with children in south africa Work with Chimpanzees work with elephants Work with Lions work with lions in africa Worki in Africa working abroad working in Africa Working in Zambia Working with Chimps working with lions world aids day Worlds best holiday destination youth travel Zambia zambia africa zanzibar Zimbabwe zimbabwe volunteer projects zulu communities zulu culture zulu dambwa pride
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