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Volunteer Testimonials

Read first hand experience from volunteers here!

Melissa Hawkes-Blackburn: Work in Rural Health Clinics in the Philippines

Philippines Tacloban City, Philippines  |  Aug 14, 2012
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 I would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone who wants to try something different, or meet new people. 

Tell us about your experiences with Kaya

Kaya was really helpful throughout the sign up process. I had lots of questions to ask before I signed up, which were all answered and once I had signed up I was given a lot of information to prepare for it. The advisors kept in contact with me throughout my preparations and eased any worries that I had. What made you chose that particular project/country?

I had wanted to experience a totally different culture, and after to speaking to an advisor about the main things I wanted from the experience she recommended the Philippines. 

Did you have any worries before you left?

Yes, I had never travelled alone before, so getting through airport customs and having someone to meet me at the end was my main concern!

Can you tell us a bit more about your role on the project?

I helped out at a rural clinic by assisting the nurses in preparing vaccinations, taking weight, blood pressure, pulse rate and breathing rate measurements.

 How did you find living in a homestay?

I’m really glad I stayed with a homestay family. They were so accommodating, especially because I’m vegetarian. I didn’t find the basic facilities as much of a problem as I expected because I had been pre-warned a long time in advance, so had a lot of time to get used to the idea.

Did anything surprise you?

Everyone was so friendly, despite their hardships. I was also surprised at the level of poverty in certain areas. Until I went there I had no idea that so much poverty existed there.

What were the highlights?

The excursions to various islands were incredible! Also, hanging out with the local girls in the area on a regular basis really made my trip fun.

What does travelling as a volunteer mean to you vs travelling as a tourist?

It means that you are going to help the people you are meeting, rather than just observe them. I like the fact that I was helping to improve the service provided to the people, even if it only made a tiny difference.

What did you get up to in your free time?

I spent a lot of time exploring Tacloban by going downtown, visiting memorials and going out to sing karaoke in the evenings. 

How has the experience affected you?

It has opened my eyes to a totally different culture and how people can get by on relatively little. It has definitely made me more appreciative of what I have at home, and made me realise how much I take for granted. 

What would you say to others thinking of volunteering?

I would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone who wants to try something different, or meet new people. I loved the fact that I met people who took a totally different outlook on life compared to me.

Any other comments?

Thank you Kaya, I would love to travel with you again someday!

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