Fabian volunteered at Kigamboni Community Centre (KCC) in Kigamboni, Dar Es Salaam, for 3 months and arrived in Winter 2016.
He is originally from Switzerland and at the time he had just graduated from high school.
1. Why did you choose to volunteer?
I had two main reasons why I decided to volunteer in Africa. Firstly, because I've always wanted to explore the continent and truly experience the African lifestyle. Secondly, because I wanted to do something useful.
2. What was your first impression when you arrived?
My first impression was that Tanzania was very unorganized, but the friendliness of the people there compensated for that.
3. What was your hosting situation like?
I lived with a host family near the project. My host father was also the project coordinator.
4. What did your typical day look like?
I used to go to the project by 10 a.m. every day of the week, and helped with different tasks.
Classes ran from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. - the disciplines I used to hold were English, French, swimming and drawing.
I would go home for lunch, but I was back at KCC at around 4:30 p.m. to participate in several activities - I taught drawing to the children and I had another English class from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
5. What were you up to when you were not volunteering?
I used to hang out with other volunteers from KCC and local people, otherwise I would spend time with my host family.
During the weekends, we used to go out to bars and clubs around the city.
6. What was the most difficult thing about your experience?
Being able to accept the everyday challenges that my host family and the children at the centre were facing, because I felt like I was not able to do enough to improve their situation.
Also, I had the feeling that, although it was a cultural exchange, I was receiving more than what I was giving.
7. What was the best thing about your experience?
I liked the fact that I was free to plan my week and the activities I wanted to organise at the project, because people there were very flexible and you could share whatever skills or talents you had.
8. What did you learn or gain from your volunteer placement?
I learned to let go of all the prejudice and stereotypes I had about Tanzania and to experience things with an open mind, as well as to accept things as they are.