Experience travel opportunities that take you to unique foreign cultures while helping to make a positive impact to the world around you.
Vacation With a PurposeAmy.Gress2024-02-02T18:17:35+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. 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!
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.
Mother Amadea Mission Hospital has a guest house located on the 4th floor (penthouse). This provides an opportunity for the team to work overnight and on call. A ramp and stairs are available, but there is no elevator. The guest house has 6 standard rooms with a bathroom and western toilet, a desk, closet, fan, mosquito net, and bedding available. The rooms also have internet, electricity, and water. There is a common spacious sitting and dining room where we will be taking most of our meals. Meals are cooked by a professional chef, so our meals will be authentically Kenyan and western. The sitting area has a television with local and international channels, a music system, a water dispenser with clean and safe water for drinking and comfortable sofa sets. You will enjoy the ocean breeze because the guest house is located on the rooftop with an outside sitting area.
Included in your trip fees are cultural activities in and around Tsavo National Park (Safari drive, etc) and Fort Jesus Museum.
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.
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.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo welcomes you! With its incredibly green pastures and mountains, you will be greeted by wide smiles and friendly faces. While off the beaten path, this country is home to a vast richness of language, culture, and bio-diversity.
For this volunteer vacation, volunteers will stay and work in a city to Gemena and the village of Tandala, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lodging in Gemena is at Elikya Center, a training center for older orphaned children. In Tandala, the team will stay at a guesthouse close to the Tandala Hospital, where AFCA started its work in Congo, in late 2007. It won’t be luxury, but we will be comfortable. We even have flushing toilets!
We will have most of our meals at the guesthouses, cooked by local Congolese women, so the food will be traditional Congolese food…yum!
JOIN A TEAM!
Ready to get started? Want more information on what it means to join a team?
Click here to download the application. Or complete the online application for one of our current teams.
Complete the application and submit it via email. Be sure to make your application as complete as possible.
After your application is submitted, it will be forwarded to the appropriate Team Leader.
STEP TWO: The Interview
After receiving your application, the Team Leader will contact you to arrange for a 30-45 minute interview. The interview will consist of a number of questions that allow the Team Leader to get to know you. And it gives you a chance to learn more about the Team Leader and to ask any questions you may have about the trip.
STEP THREE: The Invitation
If after the interview, you decide you would like to continue with your application, and the Team Leader feels that you would be a good fit for the team, an invitation will be extended to you. This will occur either at the end of your phone interview or within a few days if multiple applications are being considered.
STEP FOUR: Pay Your Deposit
After an invitation is extended, you’ll need to pay your $300 deposit to AFCA. This needs to be done within 15 days of receiving an invitation for the trip, unless other arrangements are made with the Team Leader. Otherwise your position on the team cannot be confirmed.
This deposit is non-refundable.
After you have made your deposit, you are officially on the team!
Opportunities to travel internationally while supporting the programs of AFCA’s partners in sub-Saharan Africa and having a fabulous cultural experience.
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
Setting up a school library and literacy program
Helping with goats
Dates of VWP Zimbabwe: June 25 – July 8, 2024
Team type: Open team (Team Rooibos) Cost of event: $2450 plus airfare and visa Team Capacity: 15 Last day for full payment: 45 days before the trip
Join us on a Volunteer with a Purpose trip to Mombasa, 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!
Assist in major surgeries like c-section, myomectomy, orthopedic, etc
Fixing plaster of paris
Nursing care including assisting in deliveries, bathing newborn babies, administering medications, immunizations, taking vital signs, etc
Accompanying doctors during ward round
Assessing health conditions at the outpatient department
Providing health education
Conducting diagnostic procedures in the x-ray, laboratory departments and interpretation.
Participating in medical clinics in the hospital and community performing general assessments, immunizations, blood donation, treatments, etc
Dates of VWP Kenya: October 13-26, 2024
Team type: Open team (nurses and midwives) Cost of event: $2500 plus airfare Team Capacity: 5 Last day for full payment: 45 days before the trip
Join us on a Volunteer with a Purpose trip to Gemena and Tandala, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our work in Congo 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!
AFCA works diligently with our host country partners to keep your VWP fees as reasonable as possible while providing a comfortable, safe and interesting volunteer experience. Your fees cover the majority of your expenses while in-country so that there is no burden on the local host partner organization. Included are the following:
Food (except alcoholic drinks and personal snacks)
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.
The VWP experience is unique. We have found that team members who have the best experiences and are most suited for these types of vacation share these traits:
A high degree of flexibility and patience. If there is one thing we’ve learned from experience, it is that things never go 100% according to plan.
Self-motivation. It is up to each team member to decide what work you would like to do and at what intensity you want to work, depending on your skills and comfort with the tasks.
Cultural Sensitivity. Remember that we are guests in these communities. Their customs and ways of doing things may seem unusual, inconvenient, unnecessary or even at times backwards. But we are there to experience their culture – it’s in large part what will make the experience most memorable for you – and you might even learn a thing or two!
Willingness to Participate. The success of any team experience is largely dependent on group participation and sharing of responsibilities. There will be some tasks where volunteers from the team will be asked to take the lead. Everyone has something to offer, and a willingness to offer assistance is essential.
Just as important though is a good sense of humor, willingness to work with a servant heart, openness to new experiences, and a desire to have FUN!
TEAM LEADER BIOS
Val Tomey and Nick Cassino
Val and Nick (married) have been international team leaders for many years, having led almost 50 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 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 has extensive experience as a team leader and as a host to teams. She has led or hosted teams in Ecuador, Paraguay, Kenya, 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!
Jodi started volunteering with AFCA’s livestock in Zimbabwe, doing trainings for beneficiaries and helping with the distribution of animals. With her heart firmly in Africa, she has been back 5 times since 2012. Jodi started co-leading teams for AFCA in 2016, with her first team being to Zimbabwe. The next year, she co-led a team to Kenya. She has introduced her husband and three youngest children to the continent she loves by taking them on a Vacation with a Purpose trip in 2016 and is excited to return in 2019 with them in tow, once again.
Jodi lives in Grantville, PA with her husband of 33 years, Ed. She has 8 children, 6 grandchildren, over 60 dairy goats, chickens, whitetail deer, sheep, and her alpaca, Sylvia.
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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