anyone take a volunteer trip?

Discuss volunteering opportunities or how you can help to ensure that tourism in developing countries remains a positive experience for everyone.

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anyone take a volunteer trip?

Postby Elle » Wed Feb 21, 2007 5:32 pm

Looks like G.A.P has many more options this year for Volunteer tours and tours that visit the Planeterra Foundations projects. I visited the Inti Runakunaq Wasin (House of the People of the Sun) in Peru & it was an incredible experience, that added such appreciation to the trip. :D
Has anyone been on project Peru? trip SPPJ? I'm interested in hearing about the hands on building projects.
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Postby cantrekker » Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:28 am

Although I've never gone on the GAP Volunteer tour, I've been invovled with a local group that is buiding a hospital and school in Africa. Everbody that has gone to work on project has come back more humble and immensely proud of their accomplishments. It's something i'll definitely be doing after my next trip.
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Postby Mtn Bike Girl » Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:06 pm

I was looking at a few of the GAP volunteer trips. A few that were listed in April were cancelled due to not having enough people.

I wanted to also ask what was the organization you went on for the Africa volunteering?
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Postby Sabine » Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:04 pm

I would love to go to Peru on one of the volunteer trips. Had some major changes to work through in the last couple of years, or I would already have signed up.
I found the Peruvians such positive people, always with a smile on their face, and hard-working. It would be wonderful being able to help with more than my tourist dollars.
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Postby mim95 » Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:06 am

Definitely do more research on volunteering aboard. I found that many travel companies (I'm not referring to GAP, of course) are taking adventage of this trend by overcharging. A lot of them charged a lot for very little services. See if any local NGOs are accepting volunteers and you can save a great deal that way by avoiding the middlemen.
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Postby Sierra_Travels » Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:02 pm

Are there any particular companies folks would recommend for volunteer/work trips? Other than GAP obviously... just curious to scope out the variety of what's out there, and compare.
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Postby liveinthemoment » Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:31 am

hello from toronto,

i'm going to volunteer in uganda this oct and doing the masai mara in nov. i know of some places that you can volunteer with. email me for info.

i've also taught english overseas in South Korea if anyone is interested.

i am interested in doing project macchu piccu next spring or summer...

i hope they have enough people to guarantee the tour!

it would be nice to hear from anyone who is interested in this volunteer experience :)
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Postby jimshu » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:33 am

http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org
and..
enkosiniecoexperience.com
and
http://www.desertelephant.org

3 organisations I looked at.
Finally it was a toss up between snow leopard research in Altai Republic with Biosphere-expeditions, and Enkosini Desert Elephant project in Namibia.
Had to choose the elephant project for my big outing to get away from my wife.Thought I could get lost in the desert.
But no chance as she has now decided to come to Africa with me, so we are doing the DAFD but I hope to fall off the truck in Windhoek and sneak away to the EHRA project on my own.
All booked for July 2008.
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Re: anyone take a volunteer trip?

Postby kellygreen » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:56 pm

Hey there,

It's been a while since anyone posted about volunteer trips so I'm curious, Elle and Liveinthemoment, and anyone else who's been on one recently, how were your trips??!! Any suggestions for Gap and Planeterra? Any life-changing experiences you wanna share? Tell us here or email info@planeterra.org

If you're looking for more info on voluntours, Planeterra has a "featured traveller" section - you can get to it from the homepage http://www.planeterra.org/ and it's a great place to read about other travellers' stories if you're curious what the trips are like - or - you can tell everyone your story too.

You can also learn more about the projects the voluntours visit here

As always Planeterra's voluntours are run by Gap Adventures who continues to support Planeterra's community development projects by funding the org's costs as well as matching all individual donations! Planeterra has some new voluntours coming out in 2010 so stay tuned!
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Re: anyone take a volunteer trip?

Postby jimshu » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:42 pm

Hi Kellygreen,
Yep just back from a volunteer experience in Namibia.Not a GAP voluntour but I see a number of reasons why it could and should become one.
http://www.ecotourism-namibia.com/
I like the policies.It's not just a rescue shelter where animals stay and become a 'petting' zoo.These guys are really focused on rehabilitation and release.Since inception, 18 large carnivores, mainly cheetah, but including leopards and caracals have been released in the Namib Rand area.
Known as Na'an Ku se' , this organisation works alongside landowners and farmers to highlight the importance of protecting wildlife, and is developing strategies to assist them manage their sheep and cattle without shooting out cheetah and leopard as vermin.
Established in 2005, and a volunteer program since 2007.And while we were there, around 30 volunteers coming and going.Mainly from UK and Germany.As yet, they see the North American market as largely untapped.Get alongside them perhaps.

Volunteers have a choice of-
-Working hands on in the Sanctuary .
-Medical clinic for Bushman people at Epicuro near Gobabis.
-Cheetah tracking program at Namib Rand.
-New school at the Sanctuary for Bushman children.

And being strategically located close to Windhoek's airport , could be a good location for a tailored tour of Namibia combined with the volunteer experience.
Check it out.
http://www.ecotourism-namibia.com/volun ... intro.html
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Re: anyone take a volunteer trip?

Postby DanielBMe » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:37 pm

Hey Jim,

Thanks for the link. I was actually looking for some volunteer projects in Africa last week. I was looking at the EHRA project. I'll make sure to check out the one you just listed as well.
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Re: anyone take a volunteer trip?

Postby jimshu » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:06 pm

EHRA?
Gee when Daniel?
To tell the truth I think I enjoyed EHRA's desert elephant project more,personally .I think because it was more 'raw' I suppose could be a way to describe it.2 weeks camping, pitching your bedroll out on the ground, under the stars, no tents.No showers for 4 days at a time.Cooking over a campfire.Yeah, real basic Boy's Scout stuff.
10 days ago we finished at Na'an Kuse, and did a quick 5 day self drive up through that area to show my wife around where we were.Their base camp on the Ugab is set in one of the most stunning scenic places you could imagine.Kay was aghast at how picturesque the base camp was.
1 of the women on our project has since been back 3 times and going back again.Tells you something.
So both places I'd reccommend.
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Re: anyone take a volunteer trip?

Postby DanielBMe » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:46 pm

Well, I'm thinking about it for June of next year. I know, it's far away but I'm very much leaning towards doing something along that line. Both the EHRA and the Na'an Ku se' look good. For the Na'an Ku se' I really like the Carnivore tracking project or the Research project volunteer.

For the EHRA did you have some personal time to say...take pictures, wander around...or was it pretty much working around the clock?
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Re: anyone take a volunteer trip?

Postby jimshu » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:07 pm

They're a very relaxed crew there.Your patrol guides are usually volunteers who have come back for longer periods.
Early morning wake ups.6am!And off to building work at 8am.Lunch and siesta 12-2pm over the heat of the day.Knock off 4.30pm and back to camp under some handy tree.
So yes, plenty of time for photos.And you are in a very scenic part of Namibia.
June will be chilly at night.July /Aug nicer.
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Re: anyone take a volunteer trip?

Postby hoopoe4me » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:58 pm

I just returned from the Project Costa Rica ( GAP) trip spent 5 days in the Turtle conservancy in Matapalo

It was tough duty with odd hours 24/7.

For me it was highly rewarding. I am looking forward to a possible Sabbatical in a few years and would love to find a volunteer project to spend some extended time on. I am a scientist by trade and have extensive veterinary background.

The experience of observing a female come ashore and go through t he whole nest process and the further experience of being present for hatching and release is unlike anything I have ever experienced.

I also , in my highly rudimentary Spanish, explained the purpose of the hatchery to a non-English speaking couple. I felt I conveyed the purpose and they took away some information.

I have spent vacation time volunteering in my local community, this was my first foreign experience.
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