How volunteering in Tanzania set us up with friendships and connections for life

30th July 2020

It is International Friendship Day, and what better time to reflect on the some of the special connections that have come from volunteering with Raleigh Tanzania. Most sign up to volunteer to make a difference, experience something new, or to gain new skills and experiences. The hidden benefit of volunteering is meeting new people who quickly turn into the best of friends.

Rebbie & Onesmo

Onesmo was about to start volunteering as a Expedition Deputy Operations Manager when Rebbie arrived in Tanzania to begin her role as Communications Officer. Their friendship was instant. From sharing skills and language tips, to visiting teams on project sites and broadcasting on a local radio show; these two entered this experience with open minds and ended up laughing throughout.

Rebbie and Onesmo both described one of their favourite memories together. It was heading to Abood Radio, the most popular radio broadcaster in Morogoro, to speak about international development. They described such partnership in delivering this, sharing each other’s ideas and having such admiration for each other’s work ethic and aspirations. They performed a Swahili rap and smiled all the way home.

Onesmo described Rebbie as “the most amazing friend of all-time. Working with her was great to me because there is nothing greater than working with your best friend.”

Rebbie said she felt privileged to have volunteered alongside Onesmo. “Onesmo showed me Tanzania through his eyes. Because of Onesmo I was able to experience Tanzanian life beyond any expectation I had.”

Rebbie spoke of cherishing her friendships across the world. “It makes me feel very excited and inspired! I feel like they’re always with me. They give me a lot of direction and perspective. What’s more is that I find no matter how different you are, all people like to laugh and love and be cared for and that’s why friendships will always happen, no matter where you are.”

Schola, Dean & Kim

This awesome trio were Raleigh ICS Team Leader counterparts in Bwawani, Kilombero. Here’s what they had to say about making great friends with one another, not just during their time volunteering, but for the rest of their life.

“Making these friendships didn’t just impact on my time with Raleigh, it imprinted on my life! The balance, compromise, learning, love and joy it brought allowed me to be fully myself and express each part of my character and personality without fear of judgement.” – Kim

“I wouldn’t say it just impacted my time with Raleigh, it’s impacted my life far beyond that. They became two of my best friends as soon as we got to the project. The fact we were able to enjoy and endure everything together heightened the whole experience.” – Dean

“They are friends for life. These are the people that made my leadership experience so much better than I could have imagined. If you ask me to do it again, I would chose Dean and Kim to work with again.” – Schola

Karen & Jovina

Karen first volunteered as a Volunteer Medic when Jovina was a Raleigh ICS Team Leader. Karen decided to come back to volunteer again with Raleigh a couple of years later and that cemented their friendship even more so. They describe their similarities and differences, and reminisce about how they became such close friends in the very beginning.

“Jovina and I had an instant soul connection. It was like we knew each other even before we met, and we embraced this strange, but wonderful familiarity. We both love to laugh, enjoy new experiences, however, our expressions are very different in that Jovina is much more extroverted. I, although very friendly, have to make much more of an effort to be comfortable in social situations. Jov is funny, intelligent and talented.” – Karen

Jovina agreed saying they became great friends. She remembers sharing a room with Karen whilst visiting a project site. They played cards and talked for hours, enjoying how easy conversation flowed. “We have so much in common, our only difference is our background, but we have such a good bond that it didn’t matter! Karen is caring, encouraging, and open.”

These are just three examples of some powerful, enlightening and lon- lasting friendships made during volunteering with Raleigh Tanzania. Celebrate these friendships not just today, but every day and remember how much we share and have in common in this world.

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