Lily Garelick - Medicine in Tanzania
I am a 15-year-old girl named Lily from Los Angeles, California, United States. I spent a month in Arusha, Tanzania volunteering on the Medicine Project, and to anyone reading this, I want you to know it was whole-heartedly the most amazing experience of my life.
To start, it was incredibly difficult to find the perfect program for me. Not only was I worried about going to a foreign country halfway across the world, but my parents were reluctant to relinquish their ability to help their 15-year-old daughter in the case of an emergency. After much research, however, I found the one-month High School Special program run by Projects Abroad.
After making the 25-hour journey to Kilimanjaro Airport, I was met warmly by both fellow volunteers and Projects Abroad staff. We drove for about an hour, seeing many beautiful small towns and the towering Mt. Kilimanjaro on the way.
My host family
Once we arrived at “The Haus”, the host family’s hostel I stayed in, I was met by Mama Vikki and her precious children. It is important for me to tell you I have formed such a tight bond with my host family that they are one of the many reasons I am going back this coming summer.
My Medicine placement
Throughout the days I spent in Moshono (my village in Arusha), I rotated between going to educational medicine workshops, social events, and most importantly, volunteering in my placement hospital or local villages. The joy I was able to feel after helping people was incomparable.
My overall experience
My biggest advice to any future volunteers is to take advantage of this amazing experience. There is so much in store for you. Yes, the plane ride is long, but you have so many amazing things waiting for you in Tanzania. And, yes, the food is different and may seem odd to you at first, but if you take a chance, you really might like it. I know I did! Also, the people are part of the sweetest and most loving society you could ever imagine, and they will constantly try to help you to be a part of it.
All in all, if you are deciding whether or not to go, I truly implore you to take a chance, for you will reap the benefits of one of the most amazing experiences of your life.