Elina volunteered at Kigamboni Community Centre (KCC) in Kigamboni, Dar Es Salaam, for 3 months and arrived in Winter 2017.
She is originally from Sweden and at the time she was studying a one-year volunteering program.
1. Why did you choose to volunteer?
The volunteering program I'm following in Sweden included a three month cultural exchange in Tanzania. I travelled together with four of my classmates.
2. What was your first impression when you arrived?
When I first arrived in Tanzania I was hit by how hot and humid it was! Rama, who is UPTZ country coordinator, made it all better though, when he gave us the warmest welcome.
Thinking about KCC instead, my first feeling was being surrounded by so many amazing people, music, happiness and talent - what a great mix.
3. What was your hosting situation like?
I was living at "the shelter" - a home that volunteers and homeless kids share and live in together.
4. What did your typical day look like?
In the mornings we used to plan our English classes, which were scheduled from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.
After classes were over, we would go back to the shelter for lunch. In the afternoons we had some free time and then we went back to KCC before five o’clock for crafting club, which usually ended at 6 p.m.
In the evenings, we spent time with our host brothers, playing games or just relaxing. Twice a week we also had swimming classes in the afternoon.
5. What were you up to when you were not volunteering?
We had weekends off, so we used them to explore the city and visit its markets, museums or beaches.
Other times, we travelled to different parts of Tanzania: once we went to Zanzibar and another time we went to Mikumi National Park for safari.
6. What was the most difficult thing about your experience?
It was hard to accept how my skin color affected how people saw and treated me, even though we were the same.
7. What was the best thing about your experience?
All of the amazing people I met in Tanzania.
8. What did you learn or gain from your volunteer placement?
New perspectives on things in life.