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Oliver Ehlers
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Review Volunteer Ashira Klein San Jose Costa Rica Medical Program https://www.abroaderview.org 
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Volunteer Name: Sailesh Narsinh - Location: Lusaka, Zambia
Nov 24 to Dec 19, 2014 -Volunteered: Medical/Healthcare (clinic)
1) How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
Everyone was very welcoming. They really wanted us to enjoy our time in Zambia. The staff at the clinic were really accommodating, and they'd always ask after you. There was a lot of joking around too (only when it was appropriate... mostly). I'd always come home from the clinic to the staff who would welcome you with a smile and immediately ask you about your day. The coordinator made it clear right from the outset that if we ever needed anything, we must ask him and he would do his best to help us out. I never wanted for anything while I was with them and the staff created such a positive atmosphere around the place that just chilling out together after work was always one of the best parts of my day.
2) What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
There were a few things which I found surprising - I was taken back to find that we had wi-fi where we were staying, having been totally prepared to make trips to town to Skype home.
I think the most surprising thing though was just how interested people are in getting to know you, from the staff at the clinic, right through to random strangers off the street on a few occasions! The nursing students at the clinic asked about life back home and all rushed around my phone to look at pictures of my family. Some of the local girls were also really into Bollywood movies and songs which was extremely surprising! The highlight for me was definitely the people I met and the friends I made. The locals are extremely friendly and make it a point to make time for one another.
3) What was most difficult to experience?
"This is Zambia" was a phrase that was thrown around quite a lot - when discussing local politics, the treatment of workers, violence against women and children... Every day in the clinic, in and amongst the numerous problems people presented with, there were invariably a number of women and often children too who were the victims of domestic abuse. The weary resignation on their faces and the knowledge that nothing was likely to be done about it was pretty hard to take. Other than supporting the victims medically and trying to mete out advice, there wasn't a great deal we could do and I resorted to silently punching a few walls and imagining they were husbands (which really wasn't helping). Over time, I myself started thinking (and saying) "this is Zambia" to explain away the things I perceived to be unfair or wrong, such as what I saw to be the mistreatment of workers. It was a mental dilemma I wasn't prepared for.
4) Any tips for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations) -
One of the staff who works at the headquarters kindly helped us with washing clothes since there was no washing machine. With travel, I got the tourist visa as advised by ABV upon arrival. What I didn't do was look at how long they'd issued it for - they only gave it for a month and since I was staying longer, I had to go into the city and get it extended (which was easy and free, but a waste of three hours) so make sure the customs staff issue your tourist visa for the appropriate length of time.
I didn't really plan out any travel beforehand other than a vague idea that I would try and make it to Livingstone at some point. If you are planning on checking out the Victoria Falls (which was sick) and maybe safari around there and stuff, then when you arrive in country, get a multiple-entry visa. We went to the Zimbabwe side to see the Falls (which is better) I also went to Botswana for a day-trip and they made me pay to get back into Zambia because I only had a single-entry visa.
With donations, giving items that the clinic needs is better than money I think - I left a blood pressure cuff that I took with them which they use all the time and I'll send over some other stuff from Australia that I know they'll get good use out of.
5) Other things volunteers should know:
Throw yourself into it. Smile, joke around, ask tough questions, be willing to listen. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be afraid to offer help. Explore. Say "yes" to things and you'll find yourself having a great time.
6) Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
It was something I'd wanted to do for a really long time and eventually you just have to make it happen. I'm so glad I did it with ABV, the people I met and the experiences I had.. will stick with me for a very long time. Working in the clinic motivated me to work harder at med school - you could really see how knowledge is power, it means the power to help people, to make a difference. I learn so much in my time over there and even now in the aftermath I'm still thinking on it all and finding strength and inspiration.
7) How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
I was at the headquarters of the program with Josh, another volunteer from Australia. There was a worker who stays over every night too. I always felt safe and although I had a lock for my suitcase, I didn't need it. I used to have bucket baths as a kid and in India so it was throwback time which was all good. Hand sanitizer comes in handy. We didn't have a TV which was awesome - we talked instead. For food, we cooked a few times but I was fortunate enough to have family friends in Zambia who helped me out a lot and gave me food for the week. We went out for dinner in the city quite a few times. Ema (Emanuelle) who works at the program came out with us to this Thai place for dinner and that was a memorable night.
8) What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Too many to pick a favorite. I remember countless nights crazy eights, laughing and swearing blind that Rayford was making up rules as we went. Waking up early in the morning, cranking beats, singing badly and watching the sunrise (probably did that like twice). Listening to people you'd just met telling their stories and what they dream of. Dr. Kasempa laughing at me when I told her I was taking doxycycline to prevent malaria. Heated debates at the clinic about religion and God. Doing bhangra when that Indian song came on at the bar and everyone getting into it. The phone calls from my aunt and uncle. The boy who was looking up at me shyly and smiling back whilst his mother and the doctor discussed whether he understood why he had to take the tablets every day and his impression of HIV as "a monster." Swinging in the gorge by the Victoria Falls and feeling totally at peace. Gossiping with the staff at the program and playing with all their kids. When Josh and I had Indian in Livingstone. Stomping the same ground that mum and my family grew up in years ago - feeling nostalgic for a place I'd never been. The girls at the local mall. Mangoes. Talking with the coordinator about Zambia's future. Everything.
9) How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
I was really surprised with how easy it was. I think I might have emailed at one point to ask if I was actually going because I thought it would require a lot more work on my part to put it all together. They checked in on us while we were there and it was all really smooth. I wasn't too sure what the arrangement was with us having to cook, but I didn't ask too many questions ahead of time because I wanted it to be more organic (the process not the food, although yes to organic food now that you mention it). The day I was meant to start working, we had to get permission from the Ministry of Health which was a bit frustrating but I ended up helping out at the program for the afternoon which was a good chance to do something different and spend time with the staff.
10) Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
More than happy to
https://www.abroaderview.org
‪#‎volunteerabroad‬ ‪#‎zambia‬ ‪#‎medical‬ ‪#‎abroaderview‬
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Volunteer Lauren Huber in Peru Cusco Orphanage program and Language Immersion program
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?
Everybody was excellent. Everyone was supportive and ready available at any time. I felt very comfortable with everyone as if I as with extended family.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced? Name 2
Program: How patient the girls were with me in speaking Spanish. If I didn’t learn a word, they would teach me or look it up in the dictionary for me.
Host Family: How at home I felt in another country.
Country: Cuy! (guinea pig) I have to try it.
3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced? 
Program: In all situations, my lack of Spanish speaking was my greatest challenge.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
1. Wear sunscreen.
2. Set aside some time to practice some Spanish before coming.
3. Always carry your passport with you.
4. If you bring donations, be sure the appropriate people know about it, so they get to the right people.
5.1-Other things volunteers should know before coming here: 
(thats not in the orientation guide)
I’m sure it’s already there, but keep open an mind and take advantage of your time here.
6- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
This trip for me was the perfect combination of travel and volunteering. I loved the time I spent at the girls orphanage, as well as the time I spent traveling and exploring the country. It was great.
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others: 
Ana Maria and Dante were the best host-family I could have asked for. I truly felt like I was with family during my stay with them. Everyone I met here was extremely friendly and patient with me as I learned Spanish. I absolutely liked my time in Peru, Cusco. I walked often and haven’t felt unsafe at any time.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Program: The time spent with the girls at the orphanage, it was all my favorite.
Host Family: Family meals with Dante and Ana Maria. Spanish lessons with Ana Maria
Country: Machu Picchu and daily walks.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? 
Emails were always answered within the day and there was always some one available when I called.
9.1- What do you think about the reservation system online?
Everything was easy and efficient.
9.2- Who did you find Abroaderview website (keywords, search engine, word mouth to mouth, recommended by .., other)
Search in Google.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Absolutely.
https://www.abroaderview.org/volunteers/peru
‪#‎volunteerabroad‬ ‪#‎peru‬ ‪#‎cusco‬ ‪#‎abroaderview‬ ‪#‎orphanage‬
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Samantha McReynold and Cristen Norman volunteering in Peru Cusco, Medical Program Local Hospital.

Samantha: "These past few months I have been working hard at Christian Brothers University in their Physician Assistant program.  The experience has been challenging, but incredibly rewarding because I am finally getting to achieve my life long dream of working in medicine.  Through our Physician Assistant program I have had the opportunity to serve our community in Memphis, and now I would like to broaden my horizons and serve abroad. I get a three week break for Christmas vacation and what better way to serve than do a medical mission in Cusco, Peru. Its been three years since my last medical mission to Guatemala and I had such an amazing experience helping the people there with the little training I had. Now that I have been working diligently in school what better way to use the skills I have learned with my roommate who shares a passion for incorporation of service and medicine"

Cristen: I am volunteering for the Medical program in Cusco Peru for many different reasons.  The Spanish culture and language has been a passion of mine ever since I was a little girl.  As I grew older my passion grew and grew and I eventually received a Bachelor's degree in Spanish.  In college I studied abroad in Spain which sparked the travel bug inside of me.  Later in college I decided to take my first of two medical trips to Honduras where I could combine my love for travel, the Spanish culture and language, and my medical knowledge.  I had such an enriching experience that it made me determined to pursue a career in medicine and eventually provide care in Spanish speaking communities.  Now that I am in physician assistant school and I am learning all the necessary skills and information to become a provider I want to put this knowledge to use.  I want to be able to experience Peru's rich culture while giving back and providing quality care to the people living there.

https://www.abroaderview.org
#volunteerabroad #peru #cusco #abroaderview #medical
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Volunteer Name: Ashira Klein - Location: San Jose Costa Rica
Dates: 2/22- 3/28, 2015 - Volunteered: Hospital de Niños
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?
Very supportive in the case I needed something
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced? Name 2
Host Family: Wi-fi hot water 
Country: Very Americanized! Many people spoke English
3- Any tips for future volunteers…(Clothing, travel, personal items, and donations)
1. No scrubs needed, you can bring if you want
2. Stickers/ games for the children if financially possible
4-Other things volunteers should know before coming here: 
(That’s not in the orientation guide)
a. Extra sunscreen! (It’s expensive here)
5- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
Overall, this was an excellent experience. My host family was welcoming and there to help me with whatever I needed. Volunteering at the hospital was incredibly rewarding. I got to know some incredible kids and parents with whom I will stay in contact.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others: 
My host family became my family. The room was comfortable, and the food was delicious.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Program: I spent most of my time in the Oxology ward, where the kids were always bright excited to play. 
Host Family: My host mom made me Arroz con Leche because I told her it was my favorite.
Country: Monteverde is beautiful
8- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? (Who helped you, emails, phone calls, chat online, how fast did you got an answer, did you got all your answers)
Everyone responded to my question quickly
9- What do you think about the reservation system online?
No problem
9.1- Who did you find Abroaderview website (keywords, search engine, word mouth to mouth, recommended by .., other)
Search engine
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes
https://www.abroaderview.org
‪#‎volunteerabroad‬ ‪#‎cstarica‬ ‪#‎premedical‬ ‪#‎abroaderview‬
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Volunteer name: Agathe Kuhn - location: La Serena- Chile
dates: Feb 8th - April 5th 2015 - Volunteered: Orphanage and School

1. How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country:
Excellent. The coordinator was very helpful and checked regularly with me to verify that everything was going well.

2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced? 
Definitely the way people speak here. I had spent a month in Peru before and understood people really well there. Here people speak very fast and use some words that only exist here. It takes a while to get used to it.

3. What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Understanding people. While I could understand my host mom very well, when people at work talked to me I often had to ask them to repeat and speak slower. You get used to it though.

4. Any tips for future volunteers
a. Bring sunscreen!

6. Personal paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial)
I enjoyed a lot my two months here. My host family was great and made me feel as if I was at home. When I worked at the orphanage, it was the summer vacation so the older kids (5-9 years old) were there too and I spent a lot of time playing with them. The rest of the time I would help feed the babies and toddlers and help watch the younger kids when they played outside.
Teaching English at the school was also a great experience. I helped the students with their activities, especially those who were struggling to understand. For example, I would re-explain the grammar rules to them and give them examples in Spanish. I would also help the professor check the students' pronunciation. Everyone at the school was really nice to me, both professors and students. I really enjoyed the fact that the school has students from kindergarten up to high school and that you get to work with every level.
Otherwise, La Serena is a nice, quiet city. I enjoyed going to the beach on my free time and exploring the region on the weekend.

7. How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
The accommodation was excellent and very clean. The meals were also very good and healthy. It is very secure, I've never had any problems. The host family is also very friendly and enjoyable to live with.

8. What was your favorite memory of this trip: 
my favorite volunteering memory was going to work and seeing how excited the children were to see me.

9. How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? 
Excellent! They answered emails and my questions very fast. They are very easy to reach. I left very relaxed as I had received plenty of information before arriving and knew that if I had a problem, I could contact them easily and they would react very fast.

9.1 What do you think about the reservation system online?
It's efficient.

9.2 How did you find ABV's website?
It came up in the search engine results when I was looking for volunteering programs in Chile.

https://www.abroaderview.org
#volunteerabroad   #chile   #laserena   #abroaderview   #orphanage  
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Volunteer Liana Buessecker in Peru Cusco Children/teaching program February 5th to march 19, 2015
"I am interested in the orphanage / child care program in Cusco, Peru. I enjoy working with children and people less fortunate than myself. I find joy in helping others and participating in activities with kids".
https://www.abroaderview.org
‪#‎volunteerabroad‬ ‪#‎peru‬ ‪#‎cusco‬ ‪#‎abroaderview‬
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Sea Turtle Program in Costa Rica from 2 weeks to 6 weeks and for the internship we have a 12 week program, year round program. Here are some pictures of the work and the accommodations.
https://www.abroaderview.org/…/sea-turtle-conservation/cost…
‪#‎volunteerabroad‬ ‪#‎costarica‬ ‪#‎seaturtles‬ ‪#‎conservation‬ ‪#‎abroaderview‬
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Volunteer Name: Matthew Crissman, Location: La Ceiba, Honduras
Program Dates: 03-16 to 03-27-2015, Volunteered at: Teaching School
1.How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
The coordinator was amazing and had a lot of things planned out for us to do and was very helpful with anything questions and concerns I had.
2 What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
At the program: how everyone helps each other and if I needed something someone helped me and was very willing to do what needed to be done.
About the country: The absolute beauty of the mountains and the ocean being right beside each other and how the clouds were suspended above the mountain.
3- What was most difficult to experience?
At the program: Mostly not knowing exactly how to help with certain things because I am not trained in that field of work.
At the accommodation: There was nothing that was not that difficult.
The country: The heat was different than were I had just been at where it was cold and the climate change.
4- Any tips for future volunteers…
Clothing: I would suggest packing shorts and short sleeved shirts.
Donations: I think mostly where I was at just money would help because most places can not afford to pay for construction.
Weather: It really depends where you go, but in La Ceiba it is hot and humid a lot and there is a lot of sun.
4.1-Other things volunteers should know:
a.- I would say just be expected for anything your plans may change at any moment.
b.- Also be respectful to whoever you stay with because they may ask you to stay there again if you go back.
c.- The communication to back home may be a bit difficult because of internet problems but it will still work.
d.- The most important to me is just have fun and do whatever you can to help out.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial), don’t leave blank:
My experience here in La Ceiba Honduras has been amazing for my first time being out of my home country. The school was full of nice respectful children and I had a lot of fun playing with them and I would love to come back someday.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals and security?
I would say it has been quite excellent because they always ask me if I want food and I had a nice place to sleep at and kept me comfortable while I was in the home.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Program: On Saturday, when we went to a city and helped out people with medical things and seeing how that different group of people live.
Country: I have to say where I worked at because of all of the children they seemed really happy and excited to have volunteers and people come and hug them and be around them.
8.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Communication (Phone/emails/Online chat): I am not sure because my mother did most of the communication for the trip.
Website Information: The website has a lot of good references and advice and tips for other volunteers.
9 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes I would speak to other ABV volunteers about their experience and my own as well.
10 – Can you tell us how did you find or know about A Broader View? 
My mother did the research for this trip mostly and I just helped out with looking at where I wanted to go and did research on the website and also elsewhere.
https://www.abroaderview.org/ #volunteerabroad #honduras #laceiba #abroaderview
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Education
  • Colegio Concepcion
    High School, 1987 - 1991
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Phone
215-780-1845, 866-423-3258, 215-253-4512
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236 Glen Place Elkins Park, PA 19027 USA
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