Volunteers from England

Isabel Nava

Isabel Nava

Summer 2008! A summer I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life!

My name is Isabel, and I currently live in London, the UK. It was during the summer of 2008 that I decided I wanted to spent 10 weeks living with a family in East Africa and volunteering within the local community. The village I was placed in was a little village called Ngaramtoni, a 20 minute bus ride from the main town of Arusha. From the day I arrived I knew it was going to be a adventure where the memories I'd make would stay with me forever, and the relationships I would form with the local people would too last a lifetime.

I remember being dropped of by the coach in Arusha sitting on the side of the street with a fellow volunteer waiting to be picked up by a local representative. Soon dusk came around a very tall, very smiley friendly Masai man, Pastor Herry, walked up to us and introduced himself. He then told us to put our bags in the car and proceeded to drive us to Ngaramtoni. The journey was full of excitement as we wondered what was ahead of us and what our host family would be like. On arrival in Ngarmtoni Pastor Herry pulled up the car to talk to a few of his friends and buy some bits from the local shop. It was very dark at this point and I could hear music playing very loudly from the local shops, could see lots of locals chatting in the street, and was just to happy to be taking in the very buzzy colourful atmosphere.

Eventually we arrived at our house and were introduced to our host families. They were so lovely and welcoming and pointed for us to go into the kitchen, which was a mudhut with a fire burning and lots of smoke coming off from the pot. I sat around the fire whilst the dinner was being cooked and we listened to music and just enjoyed the simple pleasures.

The next few days and weeks were spent at the local school teaching and playing with the children. It was so wonderful each day to arrive at school and see the children's smiling faces. They were always so happy to see you and so intrigued by the colour of my skin, the feel of my hair, where I was from, what my hobbies were. They just wanted to know everything. They were all so warm by nature and incredibly welcoming, always inviting my back to meet their family and wanting to show me were they lived. I learnt so much from the amazing locals I met out there, in terms of appreciating the little things in life, and enjoying what I have as we only live once.

Back in 2010 I went back to visit Ngarmatoni and it was so wonderful to see familiar faces, and see how the children had grown. The people of the village are all so wonderful and welcoming. They just enjoy life to the full, and thrive on being happy with the people around them, and enjoying each others company.

I am so pleased to read a few years on of the work my fellow volunteers I met whilst out in Tanzania have done in the village of Ngarmtoni. They have helped to give so many of the village children a hope for a brighter future.