Vanessa Noakes in Tanzania

Finally after a year of preparation and fundraising in July the trip had arrived and I was Tanzania- bound. I spent four weeks there moving round the country staying in different permanent camps and taking part in lots of different community projects.

I helped build a mud hut for an African family, repair desks and build new benches for a local school and took part in wildlife conservation projects. These were extremely hard work but very rewarding. I want to study veterinary medicine at university so the opportunity to help protect some of the world’s most endangered wildlife and administer basic medical care to farm animals was a highlight. I taught English in a primary school, washed my clothes in a river and even made paper out of elephant dung which will be sold to help support anti-poaching campaigns .As well as all the community work, I also undertook my PADI open watering diving qualification and enjoyed a two-day safari in Tanzania’s wildlife conservation area, all within sight of beautiful Mount Kilimanjaro.

The group I was with also visited a local Maasai village and saw their lifestyle first hand. We soon found that the leader of one village had nine wives (the youngest aged 13) and had 70 children! It was quite a shock to see the difference to the Western lifestyle we lead. We learned how to make Maasai jewellery and saw the Maasai women perform some of their native songs and dances, which we then matched with an interesting rendition of the Hokey Cokey!

I had a life changing experience which has opened my eyes to the cultural difference in the world around me. None of this would have been possible without the grants I received from groups like the YET.  I really appreciate your generosity and would recommend any budding travellers to get in contact with you.

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 16.50.32This is a picture of me and other members of the group I was with building the wood frame for the mud hut we built.