For most Man Tripping readers, your idea of an awesome mancation destination is probably somewhere in the United States, possibly backpacking through Europe, or maybe a motorcycle tour across Australia. How about heading to Africa and helping people?
First, thanks for the opportunity to guest blog on Man Tripping.
I am writing in hopes that readers will consider going to Africa for their next trip.
From political conflicts, to HIV/AIDs, to famine, most of what we hear about Africa in the classroom or on the news is negative. For many of us, images of starving children covered in flies are burned into our brains after years of watching infomercials asking for monetary help. And while these problems are very real, they do not represent everything the continent has to offer.
While many of you might be planning last minute trips to see the World Cup in South Africa or to head on a summer safari in Kenya, their's a lot more to Africa.
When my travel partner, Danielle Nierenberg, and I departed last October to visit nearly every country on the African continent, I really didn't know what to expect. Yet, as we travel (in Senegal at the moment) from rural villages to cities, we are seeing incredible innovations where African-led projects are lifting entire communities from poverty. We are traveling on a shoestring budget. We are meeting with farmers, NGOs, workers, governments, and other organizations
We are also seeing some incredible volunteer projects on the ground, some lasting from a week to a year. Many people, of all ages and nationalities, are signing up for for a working holiday.
Here are just a few options might want to consider on your next African mancation adventure ...
GapYearForGrownUps offers some terrific short and long term volunteer projects in twelve African countries. Some of the types of volunteering include animal conservation, child development, mentoring youth, teaching reading an writing, and wildlife research. Programs last from a couple of days to several months.
Cross-Cultural Solutions offers a program in Tanzania for people to be placed working side-by-side with local people on community-led initiatives. Programs last from 1-12 weeks.
Global Volunteers offers programs that include teaching conversational English and other basic subjects, caring for at risk youth, assisting with health care, building schools and community facilities, and much more. About 50 percent of volunteers are older adults, drawn primarily from the U.S. and Canada.
Earthwatch Institute, is an international nonprofit organization with volunteer field researchers engaged in scientific and social science research around the world. With a strong emphasis on sustainability, it presently supports about 140 projects in 48 countries, including Africa.