Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cultural Experince

Cultural tourism

Am really excited about today’s topic, I have been dying to write as soon as I got to my laptop. I was busy somewhere (I will get to it relax) and now am back to my laptop. I have switched it on, why does it ask me for my password, it doesn’t know today am in a hurry ok here goes z*******. Where is word? There you are, my blogging sites and my article websites there you are too. Damn this slow internet connection. Ok now am good let’s get into it.

I am currently in an exotic country you should see the landscapes. They are beautiful. These are the types where you would sit down with nature and forget about everything else. You forget that you are so many miles (kilometers whichever suits you) from civilization. The only person who can reach you now is your fellow tourists. Not your boss (damn him or her), not your mother (pestering you) your friend who has relationship issues and not your subordinate who needs you to wave your magical wand to solve his problems. No right now it’s only you and nature or rather it’s me and nature. Oh this site is beautiful. The sky is blue and there are few clouds, a light breeze that ruffles my collar. My only cause for concern is my friend here who says his camera is running out of charge and he can’t take any more photos. This is very beautiful, I don’t want to go into wildlife because you can switch on the discovery channel and they will describe it better than I do (lies).

I am really excited about the scenery, the view I feel I should be writing a poem right now on life and how God (or whoever you worship) should be praised. Here He spent just a bit more time to make. The untamed wild is where we are. My only problem is if nature calls (I ate a bit too much…damn) but other than that we are good. After a few hours the tour driver called to us and told us it’s time to go. My camera has taken too many snaps and am satisfied I can’t wait to upload it to my laptop. He says he wants to take us see some village for some reason. We are all ok with it because after today nobody can dare complain

To every good story there is a bad side to it. So here is mine we found out later that the car developed mechanical problem and we would have to stay the night in the village and alas there are no hotels. And if there was one, I wouldn’t have paid as it’s the tour operator’s responsibility. So we would have to wait till the morning for another car to come and pick us up. My travel agent is going to get a scathing Email. In the village we roamed around and we resigned ourselves in the tour van. But the locals had a different idea; they came to us and invited us to their homes. It was too kind of a gesture to ignore so we went to their homes.

The home I went to was small had small space everyone was sleeping on a mat, carpet or something (but I think it was alive at some point). My host was a jolly person who introduced himself to me and my friends; apparently he is the local chief. Although here titles don’t mean much. He treats us like royalty and he makes sure we are well fed. And before we sleep he offers some alcohol for the night cap. Whatever that was we drank cleared my sinuses and my throat. As I was there I was observing how they live and behave towards each other. I have to agree it was beautiful than the landscape!!!!!.

The youngest was a baby who couldn’t talk but was being taken care of by the oldest. While the mother was in the kitchen washing dishes ( the things we used to eat with, but they were not plates) while the dad sat with us telling us of the trials and the funny experience he has had since he became chief. Apparently being chief here is hereditary and it goes way back to his great great great grandfather. Who killed the previous chief. But that is another story. After the drink we went to sleep, dreaming of all the stories we were told. In the morning at around 4 or 5 am the whole family woke up. I didn’t even hear the alarm clock but they were all up. Except from the baby, the lucky one. When I went out with the family I found the whole village was up and ready for their day. I decided to help out where I can ( I was feeling guilty for the free meal and bed) we worked with them and it was such an exciting experience. They made me forget about complaining to my travel agent. It was a wonderful experience. its going to be in one of my top ten best holidays.

The other car came with a mechanic and it was hard to say goodbye. But we had to leave for my next adventure. To fully experience a place you are visiting try and mix with the locals it is totally worth it. Now am back in civilization and am writing my story to you I wish you were all there!!!! Words cant do my experience any justice.

Africa Sustainable Development (AFRICASD): Volunteering Directory

Africa Sustainable Development (AFRICASD): Volunteering Directory
http://www.volunteercapitalcentre.org -Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC) offers volunteer opportunities in third world countries

Monday, June 21, 2010

Home stays

Home stay

Imagine you visit a country and you have such a great experience you fall in love with the place. But you have to contend with hotel fees or hostel fees. As a foreigner the expenses will become too much at some point. Then you wish you had a cheaper place to stay to extend your holiday or your experience. What do you do next? You go to your laptop and hit Google and your type “cheap hotels or hostels and lodgings” plus country off course. Then you find out the fees you are paying are the almost the same or cheaper but poorer quality.

Now you are stumped and you don’t know what to do next. Then you remember about home stays where you live with a family for a really low fee. You find out that the fees you are paying at your hotel is worth two or three weeks worth at a home stay. You quickly move out in order to save money and have more fun. Then you go to live with a family. From my experience it’s great to live with a family and also since I have hosted a few foreigners I have a wealth of knowledge I can give to all of you.

My first experience as a guest in my cheap hotel (home stay) was great. I was welcomed as an honored guest, honestly hotels don’t do that for you, it was a modest home where they had the basics. They had electricity, running water, and a hot shower (yeah!!!). The family at the beginning was great and we shared all our meals together and I felt as part of the family. But the longer I stayed the harder it became for me and the family.

At first I thought it was the family has a problem not me. I told myself I am going to be the host this time and I will let a foreigner to come and stay in my home. I got one; I swore to myself that I will be best host ever. Making sure that I will be as flexible as I can and make sure the person is more comfortable than s/he at their home. I went out and bought stuff that I thought he needed. I made sure his room was comfortable, had a wireless internet connection for his laptop. And I was there for him for anything that he wanted or needed. He left for home after his great holiday in my home country. We had fun together I must say, he taught me a few foreign words and I taught him my language as well.

Living with my guest and living as a guest in another country has taught me a few things which I would love to share with you. The first thing I want to say is that the problem is not with you or the host family. The problem is that when we live together there must be some conflict even though we try to please each other. When you live with someone, even your relative you will always have some conflict here and there. But the trick is to minimize the conflict so that staying together doesn’t become a burden to both of you.

Secondly as a guest in a person’s home, you are there to see how they are living and their culture. You are not meant to impose your beliefs or your views on how they live. They have been living that way for a long time and after you they will keep living the way they do. Even though you think you are right and they are wrong (and they could be seriously wrong) it’s their way of life and we are there as guests to experience it.

Lastly I think bringing small gifts will take you a long way. Not expensive gifts like a HD camera, small things like sweets from your home country, or small ornamental things like bracelets and stuff. Those gifts from my experience as a guest make your stay more enjoyable and you will be more welcomed. We all love getting gifts, when you are in a new place the best way to break the ice is to start by giving gifts.

Staying with a host family is great and a cheap. This way you will be able to get more form your holiday or volunteer travel, or your intern stay. Living in hotels or hostels is a plastic life and you want more from your experience. I suggest the best thing to do is to live with a family.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Top safety tips when you volunteer or travel abroad

Travelling is an exciting adventure that many people want to undertake but for one reason or the other they do not do it. When you get the chance to travel whether you are going on safari, touring or volunteering you should be cautious.When you travel, read this in order to avoid any problem during your fun holiday:

- Make sure you know your embassy's number, this is especially important when you run into trouble or you lose your passport.

- Find out the location of the embassy.

- Budget appropriately and check for Currency fluctuations. In some cases tourists assume they have carried enough money for their holiday only to find they didn’t have enough to buy souvenirs and gifts.

- We recommend you get comprehensive travel insurance. This is important in case you fall sick and you can be well taken care of

- Check with your doctor as soon as possible to find out which vaccinations that you might need. Going to foreign countries , like tropical countries you will be susceptible to various diseases and illnesses.

- Make sure you have the correct Visa.

- Keep in touch with your family and friends and keep in regular contact with them. This ensures at all times one of your friends or family knows where you are and can get to you just in case something happens.

- Book a flexible ticket which allows you to leave anytime. There have been some instances of political instability and you might need to get of there as soon as possible. Hence the need of a flexible ticket.

- Keep away from situations that make you uncomfortable. Always follow your instincts, you can avoid problems by being cautious.

- Keep an eye on your belongings.

- Beware of pickpockets as they are many in especially high tourist areas.

- Try to keep a low profile and try to blend in.

- Always keep your mobile phone and valuables like jewelry out of sight.

- Carry your phone card, and loose change for making calls.

- Always try to know where you are going.

- Try always to be in groups especially at night, don’t walk alone.

These are a few of the many safety precautions you should take into consideration to whichever part of the world you want to visit. Try to read more to ensure you and your family's safetry. Have fun throughout your vacation!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Volunteer with VCC


The pillars of our organization are safety and quality. The programs are of high quality where the volunteer is taken to places where they are needed. The volunteers will go to different situations where there is a need and the impact of the work done changes the life of another. The programs are set by the organizations and we choose the right organizations that provide the best effect on the community. We want the volunteer to feel like they have given something to the community through their work and the work done is sustainable throughout the years to come. We choose programs that have an effect on the community. This way you can leave a finger print on a life.


We are very careful about safety and it is given our highest priority. Safety is a issue that is on every one’s mind especially those who are volunteering for the first time. To enhance safety we make sure they stay in homes where there will be a family to take care of the volunteers. Also we ensure there are adequate communication between the volunteer and the in country member of staff. We to try to provide secure programs in the institutions and at the home


We have made the price of VCC so low so that the volunteer can have a cheap vacation in the country he wants to operate in. The price is lower than other organizations because the volunteer will stay in a home stay and not in a hostel or a hotel thus reducing the cost by a whole lot. We also don’t use middle men since they would like a commission they normally raise the cost of the whole procedure. We directly link the volunteers straight to the organization where they are to work.