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Vacation With a Purpose 2018-01-06T11:03:01+00:00

WELCOME TO AFCA’S “Vacation with a Purpose” PROGRAM

“Vacation with a Purpose” (VWP) provides amazing travel opportunities with unique insights into foreign cultures while offering opportunity for participants to make positive contributions to the world in which we live. Not only will you impact a local community, working side-by-side with them, but a portion of your fees also goes to support the programs of AFCA’s partners in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our trips are open to individuals, groups, students, and families (minimum age 14). VWP team sizes range from 8 to 30 people depending on location and typically last 14 days.

Each trip includes a work project where we work side-by-side with members of the local community. These projects vary depending on the needs of our in-country partners and the particular skills of the volunteers. They may include repair and minor construction work to homes, schools and/or clinics; teaching English; working with women’s and/or children’s groups; planting food gardens; helping with computer skills – and a myriad of other projects that improve the situation for children in that community. With each project, you will have ample time to interact with the community including working with local volunteers and workmen, playing games, community events, etc.

Each team travels with an experienced team leader (see “Team Leader Bios” section). Your team leader is responsible for building the team, planning the trip, keeping team members informed, coordinating with the local partner while in-country, administering team finances, and monitoring safety.

Our trips are not luxury vacations, and you will work hard. In exchange, you will to develop friendships and memories to last a lifetime and experience someone else’s culture while catching a glimpse into their life, all while making a difference. It’s all a part of what makes a volunteer vacation so memorable!

So take the challenge to come, see, experience, and make a difference in the lives of others!

VIEW CURRENT TEAMS

WHERE WE TRAVEL

KENYA

Kenya has long been a favorite travel destination in Africa. Revered by many anthropologists as the ‘cradle of humanity’, Kenya has magnificent wildlife parks, unsullied beaches, thriving coral reefs, memorable mountainscapes and ancient Swahili cities. But Kenya is also a country with substantial needs.

  • painting and miscellaneous renovation or maintenance projects in their clinic
  • volunteering with the nurses or administrative staff at a clinic
  • assisting Home Care Nurses in the communities
  • working at a garden project that provides food support to families in the community
  • painting and doing renovations at the small orphanage
  • building a storehouse for grain and produce
  • painting the local school
  • teach English to children

Other projects might include micro-finance training, sanitary kit making, gardening, and much more.

Teams stay at a guesthouse in shared rooms, usually two or three people per room. Bathrooms are shared and the water may not always be hot in the showers. Meals will be served at the guest house each day, with a dinner or two eaten in local restaurants. Purified water will be provided and everyone is encouraged to take their own water bottle in order to cut down on plastic waste.

At the end of the work project, we go on safari! We travel to Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, Kenya for a 2-night stay at an amazing hotel. You will have multiple opportunities to go on safari drives where you will see elephants, giraffe, zebra, gazelles, buffalo and maybe even lions. The cost of the safari is included in your trip fees.

ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe is an amazing country with breath taking scenery and heart breaking poverty. The country is mainly covered by savannah, with beautiful views in all directions. Elephants, leopard, cape buffalo, lions, giraffe, and zebra are all native to Zimbabwe, as are eagles and a plethora of other wildlife. The Zimbabwean people are welcoming and warm and are happy to have visitors in their country, opening their homes to offer tea and a smile.

Projects in Zimbabwe change each year but may include:

  • Repairs and improvements to local schools
  • Building houses for AIDS orphans
  • Painting orphanages, school, clinics, or churches

Other projects might include micro-finance training, sanitary kit making, soap and cloth making, gardening, and much more.

While in Matopos, teams stay at Morning Star in Matopos (a Unesco Heritage Site). Rooms are dorm style and will be shared. Blankets and pillows are provided and can be used indoors or to sleep under the stars. The food is fantastic (western fare), water is available on site and is purified there, and while there is a pit latrine system, there are actual toilets to be used. There is no electricity, but solar panels are used. Breakfasts and dinners will be served at the guest house each morning and lunches will be packed and will be eaten at the work site. Rock climbing, volleyball, hammocks, trekking, and much more is available for the team during off hours.

While in Bulawayo, teams will stay at Bultop, a house that is totally off the grid. Solar power makes everything work! Hosted by the Green family, a team will enjoy delicious meals – some prepared on site and some in restaurants in town. Flush toilets, clean running water and comfortable beds make this a great place to stay. Souvenir shopping completes the stay in the historic city of Bulawayo.

Hwange National Park will be visited by the team, with an overnight at Hwange.

UGANDA

Uganda is called the “Pearl of Africa”, a country with fantastic natural scenery and a rich mosaic of tribes and cultures. You will be captivated by its beauty, overwhelmed by the friendliness of its people and intrigued by all that Uganda has to offer.

Projects in Uganda change each year but may include:

  • Repairs and improvements to local school
  • Painting school, clinic, and staff housing
  • Micro-finance training
  • Gardening/Agriculture
  • Medical services, including midwifery and nursing training and practice
  • Sewing training and projects to help current sewing program expand

While in Uganda, teams stay in Kampala for one night upon arrival in country and one night upon departure. The stay will be at a local hotel with hot water and good food.

While in Papoli, teams will stay at a guesthouse owned by one of the village community leaders. The guest house has two living rooms, 4 bathrooms and 5 bedrooms. It won’t be luxury, but great news – it has flush toilets and electricity!

We will have most of our meals at the guest house, cooked by local women, so our meals will be authentically Ugandan. We’ll also have a few dinners in the nearby town of Tororo.

For a break during the weeks in Uganda, the team will take a hike up Sipo Falls for a great view and a delicious picnic.

HAITI

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and one of the poorest in the whole world with 59% of the population living on less that $2 per day. Half of all children don’t attend school and 60% of those in school will abandon their studies after 6th grade. In recent years, Haiti has been at the forefront of the world news as the country has been hit by natural disasters.

Our work in Haiti will involve a construction project focusing on a school or clinic, depending on the immediate needs at the time and the resources available. This is a pilot project for AFCAIDS, as most of our work has been concentrated on the African continent.

Projects may include:

  • Construction of a school or clinic
  • Digging foundations and trenches as necessary
  • Painting the interior and exterior of current and former construction projects as needed
  • Mixing mortar (by hand!)
  • Carrying bricks, cement, and other construction materials as needed
  • Laying bricks and other masonry projects
  • Various and miscellaneous tasks as needed on the job site
  • No one is required to do anything they are uncomfortable doing, and complete instruction will be provided
  • NO CONSTRUCTION EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY!

Teams will stay in a dorm style facility each day, and will travel to and from the worksite each day. The facilities are clean but sparse. Breakfast and dinner will be at our accommodations. Showers and western style toilets are available, as well as bottled water.

We will have a chance to tour parts of Port-au-Prince on the Sunday before the work week. During the week, if time allows, we will tour some local neighborhood areas where you can interact with the locals and also purchase some very unique and special souvenirs made by local artisans.

JOIN A TEAM!

Ready to get started? Want more information on what it means to join a team?

LEARN MORE

CURRENT TEAMS

Opportunities to travel internationally while supporting the programs of AFCA’s partners in sub-Saharan Africa and having a fabulous cultural experience.

ZIMBABWE

Join us on a Volunteer with a Purpose trip to Matopos and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Our work in Zimbabwe is very community oriented and we will work side by side with the local people to make our work a success.

Some of the projects for this trip might include:

  • Construction of a spray race dip for goats
  • Construction of goat homes for beneficiary families
  • Painting a girls’ boarding school
  • Setting up playground equipment
  • Sewing projects
  • Setting up a school library and literacy program
  • Teaching English
  • Building fences
  • Helping with goats

Team type: Open team (Team Fisher)
Dates of VWP: Dec 25, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Cost of event: $2350 plus airfare
Team Capacity: 12
Last day for full payment: 45 days before the trip

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PROJECT INFO
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Team type: Open team (Team Weaver)
Dates of VWP: June 9-23, 2018
Cost of event: $2350 plus airfare
Team Capacity: 12
Last day for full payment: 45 days before the trip

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PROJECT INFO
VIEW SCHEDULE

HAITI

Join AFCAIDS as it ventures into Haiti for the first time in 2018 in conjunction with a local organization. You will spend a week in and around Port-au-Prince working on a construction-themed project building schools or clinics. The work in Haiti is critical in that educational resources are virtually non-existent, and our work is vital in ensuring the children of Haiti have the proper resources to get an education. Additionally, the same can be said when it comes to healthcare. Virtually all healthcare in Haiti is offered through non-profit based organizations, and our work will provide the foundation for these organizations to provide the critical care to the local people of Haiti.

Some of the projects for this trip might include:

  • Construction of a school or clinic
  • Digging foundations and trenches as necessary
  • Painting the interior and exterior of current and former construction projects as needed
  • Mixing mortar (by hand!)
  • Carrying bricks, cement, and other construction materials as needed
  • Laying bricks and other masonry projects
  • Various and miscellaneous tasks as needed on the job site
  • No one is required to do anything they are uncomfortable doing, and complete instruction will be provided
  • NO CONSTRUCTION EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY!

Team type: Open team (Team Werle/Weaver)
Dates of VWP: April 20 – 28, 2018
Cost of event: $2050 plus airfare
Team Capacity: 18
Last day for full payment: 45 days before the trip

APPLY OFFLINE
APPLY ONLINE
PROJECT INFO

KENYA

Join us on a Volunteer with a Purpose trip to Miwani, Kenya. Our work in Kenya is very community oriented and we will work side by side with the local people to make our work a success. Some of the projects might include the items listed below. If there is something you’d really like to do, please let us know and we’ll try to accommodate as best as possible. We are not always able to do so and flexibility is key!

  • Sewing lessons (they have seven sewing machines ready!)
  • Helping teaching English at the school
  • Teaching on farming techniques
  • If there will be an architectural designer and drawer in the team, he/she can help in designing a suitable place within our farm where they can develop a water pan/dam from where water from the nearby stream can be collected for the agricultural projects
  • Playing with the children
  • Visiting a few of the widowed families affected with HIV/AIDS (home based program)
  • Community medical clinic help, for nurses or doctors
  • Setting up fencing around new clinic
  • Painting the new clinic
  • Landscaping new clinic

Team type: Open team (Team Upendo)
Dates of VWP: July 14-28, 2018
Cost of event: $2150 plus airfare
Team Capacity: 12
Last day for full payment: 45 days before the trip

APPLY OFFLINE
APPLY ONLINE
PROJECT INFO
VIEW SCHEDULE

UGANDA

Join us on a Volunteer with a Purpose trip to Papoli, Uganda. Our work in Uganda is very community oriented and we will work side by side with the local people to make our work a success. Some of the projects might include the items listed below. If there is something you’d really like to do, please let us know and we’ll try to accommodate as best as possible. We are not always able to do so and flexibility is key!

  • Teaching at the school
  • Sewing training
  • Gardening – they would really like someone with knowledge/ experience in use of agricultural chemicals, fertilizers, pest control measures, composite manure making
  • Helping clinic administration with a number of projects such as database management and newsletter creation
  • Helping in the clinic
  • Photography training
  • Micro finance (saving and credit scheme)
  • Nutrition training

We currently have no teams planned to go to Uganda in 2018.

  • Food (except alcoholic drinks and personal snacks)
  • Sleeping accommodations
  • In-country transportation, to and from the airport as well as to the project worksite
  • Donation to the host partner, to be used to further their programs as well as to purchase supplies and materials for our specific project, if needed.
  • Local cultural activities
  • Administrative fees for AFCA and some team leader costs.

The trip fees do not include:

  • Airfare from your home to the host country
  • Accommodations before or after the official trip dates
  • Medical and/or emergency evacuation insurance
  • Trip cancellation insurance;
  • R&R activities beyond those indicated in the schedule, and visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations)
  • Incidental personal expenses

NOTE: A $300 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot on the team, and all fees must be paid in full 45 days prior to departure.

If you do not have the financial means to pay the whole amount of the trip fees yourself, don’t let that discourage you. Many team members raise all or a portion of their fees through donations from family and friends. If you do plan to fundraise, start as soon as possible so that you are able to meet the payment deadline.

Even if you have the financial means to pay the entire cost yourself, we strongly encourage individuals to fundraise for their trips. Any funds raised in excess of the trip fees can be designated to go to our local partners or to AFCA. Fundraising also helps raise awareness of the mission of AFCA and its partners.

TEAM LEADER BIOS

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Val Tomey and Nick Cassino

Val and Nick (married) have been international team leaders for many years, having led almost 30 volunteer teams to over 25 countries around the world, including throughout Africa, Asia, South America, Central America and Eastern Europe.

As team leaders, Val and Nick strive to build teams that are diverse in age, gender, religious affiliation and cultural backgrounds. They look for fellow team members who are adventurous, flexible and find fulfillment in serving others, and who are willing to give up some of the luxuries of home for awesome experiences!

Eric Weaver

Eric is a world traveler who has led volunteer teams to Kenya, Bulgaria, Ecuador, and Portugal for Habitat for Humanity and for his own company, International Volunteer Partnerships. A gifted builder and carpenter, Eric explains work to team members in an easy to understand way and always strives to include local folks in the work project.

Eric is happiest when he is traveling and would love to be your team leader as you help children served by AFCA.

Tanya Weaver

Tanya has extensive experience as a team leader and as a host to teams. She has led or hosted teams in Ecuador, Paraguay, Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Portugal, Northern Ireland, and Bulgaria. Tanya has lived overseas most of her life (Colombia, Afghanistan, Romania, Russia, Hungary) and is very familiar with foreign cultures.

Tanya is a multi-lingual experienced traveler who has a knack for finding off-the-beaten-track food places. As a leader, Tanya is always happy to find answers for team members who want to know more about the culture where the team is working. She’ll try to make your time overseas the most fun possible!

Tara Fisher

Tara loves traveling and started her international adventures at the age of six when she went with her parents to adopt her younger sister from China. Through middle and high school, she went on several missions trips all across the United States. Over the last few years, Tara has gone on multiple trips to Zimbabwe with AFCA. She has traveled with groups and by herself, most recently spending six months living in Zimbabwe to set up one of AFCA’s livelihoods projects using goats. While staying at the farm in Matopos, Zimbabwe, she has helped host and organize groups and teams of volunteers from various organizations. Tara loves the people, culture, and scenery of Zimbabwe. She cannot wait to take you there and show you all the reasons why she loves it so much!

Shane Werle

Shane is an experienced team leader and volunteer with AFCAIDS and Habitat for Humanity. He has traveled extensively around the world, having been to 33 countries, many of them three to five times, and has led numerous teams. His passions are poverty housing, education, children’s healthcare, and sustainable agricultural projects in Africa. Shane’s background is in clinical and administrative healthcare, as well as finance. He currently lives full time in Atlanta, GA, United States.

Emily Gingrich

Emily has a passion for traveling the world. She has been to over 30 countries including Kenya, Vietnam, Colombia, Malawi, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica, and Costa Rica. She has served most of her trips with Habitiat for Humanity. Emily had the pleasure of going back to one of her favorite places in the world with AFCA in 2017, Kenya. She is so excited to lead a team back and show others the amazing and beautiful place of Kenya!

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