My BIG Volunteer Abroad Trip

For those of you who know me well, you’ve heard me talk about it a million times. You've may have even gotten tired of hearing about it. Well guess what? It's finally here! After saving my airline miles for 15 years, I’m finally cashing them in for my BIG TRIP- for my around-the-world ticket. I’m headed to Africa, Asia, and Indonesia next month!!! My goal of this trip has always been to travel to areas I might want to work someday. To help me fulfill my dreams of international social work I’m using the combination of all my skills and experiences thus far to give back to others. I’m volunteering with various organizations in multiple countries but I could use your help. Who knew that to offer your help you had to pay? Even after having “free” airfare it’s still costly. Each organization has fees associated with them to pay for food and lodging and much of the money goes directly back to the hosts- be it a non-profit organization, a school, or a family. You can show your support by helping me to help them. Please check out some of my projects below and if you feel at all compelled, PLEASE GIVE to fund this excellent experience.

I’m beginning my trip in rural Tanzania with a Global Volunteers group providing education on nutrition, hygiene, and early childhood development and will be visiting homes to demonstrate how families can grow their own food and keep small livestock. With some of the lowest growth rates in the world, Tanzania’s Department of Ministry is teaming up with Global Volunteers to educate and model health and well-being for Tanzanian children and families. 

Next I’m headed to South Africa to volunteer with Wildlife Vet Adventures . I’ll be chasing my early dreams of studying wildlife biology and becoming a vet by working alongside veterinarians to treat wounds and injuries, vaccinate, and deworm animals of all sorts- from small antelope to massive elephants and rhinos and maybe even a giraffe or lion! And if I’m really lucky I might even get to experience the whole thing from above in a helicopter!

I will continue my volunteering in South Africa with the Philisa Abafazi Bethu Women and Children's Program  With locally high rates of domestic violence and child abuse, I will provide support, education, and empowerment (pretty much the same as I do in my current job) to the women and children who have been impacted by sexual, domestic, and family violence. I want to see how violence against women in Africa compares to America's and bring home new perspectives and innovative ways to better serve my clients, especially those from different cultural backgrounds.

I will then carry on to Asia where I will land for another couple weeks to conduct research on the human-elephant conflict that exists locally. With IVHQ I will monitor the relationships of wild elephants and mostly local farmers, while trying to develop resolutions. Although the Asian elephant is endangered, in rural Sri Lanka farmers have been killing these amazing creatures because they are decimating their crops. Elephants have been forced to “steal” the farmer’s crops because of the vast deforestation of their natural jungle habitat which is being cleared for agriculture and development. While in Sri Lanka I will also spend time getting to know the culture-the language, the food, the traditions, and the customs.

Then it’s off to Bali in Indonesia where I will get to know another culture. I’ll again learn all about the ways of the local people and see some of the sights before starting my IVHQ volunteer project. Piggy-backing on my conservative efforts with the elephants, I will teach children the importance of protecting our environment. Traditionally Balinese take away food was wrapped in banana leaves. Biodegradable, right? Sure, but with the convenience and affordability of plastic bottles and bags, many people simply don’t know that what they throw on the ground will take years to biodegrade. During this project I will pull in my passion for recycling and commit to the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle slogan!

During my 8th week I will head to Vietnam for a fun-filled vacation of sightseeing and relaxing and then end my trip on the beach in the Philippines, where I will take some time for myself to reminisce about my journey. I’ll reflect on all the places I’ve been and all the wonderful people I met along the way- those people that invited me into their communities, families, homes, and ultimately, their lives. I’ll think back to the positive impact I’ve hopefully made and take note of the things I learned that will change the way I see the world and how I live in it. Humbled, I will look ahead to the opportunities that lie before me- be it back in the states or somewhere I’ve traveled.
If, for some reason, logistics or any other unforeseen circumstance prevents me from volunteering with these organizations, I will make a direct donation to that particular program in your honor. Thank you for giving back yourself! It feels good, doesn’t it? :-)


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Alyssa Kornowa 
Columbus, OH
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