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Bugando Medical Center, Mwanza

Internship and Volunteering Possible
 
Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, situated on Lake Victoria in Tanzania is the largest hospital in Western Tanzania. It has departments of General Surgery, Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Urology, ENT, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Psychiatry. Elective placements and internships are possible at all departments. As a teaching hospital of the University of Bugando, the hospital also offers final year rotations.
 
 

Project Details

 
Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) is the tertiary referral hospital of the Lake Victoria Zone and Western regions, serving a population of around 13 million people.
 
The 900-bed hospital was built by the Catholic Church and was officially opened in 1971. Since 2003, it is also the teaching hospital of the Bugando University College of Health Sciences. The hospital accepts 5th and 6th year foreign medical students for electives and final year rotations. The hospital has exchange programs with several foreign universities, including Cornell University New York, North Western University Chicago, University of Salzburg/Austria and University of Würzburg/ Germany. There are foreign physicians and students who work permanently at Bugando Medical Centre.
 
The hospital has departments of Internal Medicine, surgery, pediatrics, gynecology/obstetrics, psychiatry and anesthesia.
 
There are currently two resident doctors from the US at internal medicine who will mentor elective students in this ward; other departments have English-speaking Tanzanian doctors and staff. The psychiatry ward is rather small (one chief psychiatrist and an assistant). Students can combine several departments during their elective/final year rotation.
 
Students usually work Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Every morning starts with a one-hour meeting, where the program for the day is discussed.
 
Info Box
General
Location: Mwanza, Tanzania
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 1 Month
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English
Further Languages Of Advantage: Swahili
Accommodation:
Hotel, Guest House
Internship
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Specialist, General Physician, Nurse, Therapist
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Relevant training or fourth year of medical studies
Further Contribution To Project: Yes, 40 USD per week contribution to hospital; plus one time enrollment fees of 55 usd
Volunteering
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Professional Specialist in Medicine, Nursing, Therapy
Further Contribution To Project: None
Expectations:
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?
 

More Info

 

Background Information for Medical Placements/Electives Abroad

 
The following text tries to provide background information about the medical systems in the different countries and tries to classify the medical institutions where we arrange placements within these system, in order to assist you finding the right option for your elective, final year rotation, internship or medical volunteer work.
 
Contact us and we are happy to assist you!
 
Tanzania
 
In Tanzania we can arrange placements for medical elective students, interns of nursing and therapies, pre-medical students and professional volunteers into a wide range of public and private medical institutions.
 
The public health system in Tanzania has a referral system: Someone who needs treatment usually first attends a small medical dispensary. Dispensaries are in all parts of towns and cities such as Moshi, Dar-es-Salaam etc. and in many villages, treating all common things such as small injuries, infectious diseases, Malaria, diabetes, high blood pressure etc.; also they often do deliveries.
 
There are public and private dispensaries. The public dispensaries are usually very simple in terms of equipment and facilities. In villages and outskirts of cities, they often they don't even stock elementary medicines and can only offer very basic medical services. The private dispensaries are often very similar to the public ones, but sometimes they are of higher standard in terms of facilities, equipment and services offered.
 
Any state-approved nurse can open a private dispensary. Dispensaries are usually run by a nurse or by a "medical officer" who is something between a nurse and a physician; some might employ further nurses, medical officers and laboratory technicians. The nurses and medical officers at the dispensaries can prescribe and use all standard medicines. There is typically no real physician who has studied medicine for 4-5 years. If it is a requirement from the university that for an elective/medical internship a proper physician is needed as a supervisor, this is not possible at a dispensary. For volunteers who have professional skills such as nurses, therapists and physicians, dispensaries are very good places to volunteer at, as through their skills they can support the local staff a lot and work like a regular team member, including stitching wounds and treating patients, assisting with deliveries, even without supervision if they are sufficiently qualified. Also internships for pre-medical students are possible at dispensaries.
 
Examples for such dispensaries where we can arrange placements are Hosiana Clinic and Dorcas Laboratory in Moshi. In Zanzibar, placements at dispensaries are usually not possible, as the Health Ministry doesn't allow so for foreigners.
 
The number of patients at dispensaries might fluctuate a lot during the year. Usually during the rainy season (March to June and November) there are more infectious diseases and more cases of malaria.
 
If a patient needs something of higher specialization that cannot be done at a dispensary or which is beyond the competence of the nurse or medical officer, he or she is referred to a Regional Hospital such as Mawenzi Regional Hospital in Moshi.
 
Patients however can also go directly to a Regional Hospital. Particularly people living in the cities near a regional hospital often prefer to go directly to the hospital and skip the dispensary, as they expect better service at the hospital.
 
Regional hospitals usually have many, many patients and elective students and professional volunteers have the chance to see many cases, often in very late stages of diseases.
 
Regional hospitals are used by patients who are of average income, or poorer parts of the population, if they feel so sick that they don't have any other option. A lot of time often passes between having been at a dispensary and going to the Regional Hospital, during which the patient’s medical condition can get worse, because poor patients usually have to collect the money to cover costs for the treatment from relatives, neighbours, churches and other sources, which can take days to weeks. The costs for a consultation by a doctor at a regional hospital might be around 5,000-7,000 TSH (around 2.50-3 €/3.30-4 USD), plus costs for medicines which might be typically between 2,000 and 10,000 TSH (1-5 €/1.30-6.50 USD). Major surgery and having to stay as an inpatient might cost around 100,000-200,000 TSH (50-100 €/65-130 USD). An average monthly household income is around 90 €/120 USD (for a whole family), but around 65% of Tanzanian households only have 30 €/40 USD or less per month. Patients usually don't seek medical treatment for minor reasons; nobody goes for prevention.
 
Regional Hospitals have various common departments; you can read the list of available departments at Mawenzi Regional Hospital and other hospitals on our website. Work at the regional hospitals is often tough, as doctors have to treat many patients who have serious medical conditions within a very short time. Therefore they often don't have a lot of time to give lengthy explanations to elective students. Students usually assist the doctors and nurses with tasks such as stitching wounds, changing dressings, assisting during the consultation, attending doctors during the ward round etc, always under supervision. There is qualified staff who can sign and stamp forms about electives as required by universities.
 
Above the level of the Regional Hospitals there are very large and higher specialized hospitals which are called "Referral Hospital" such as Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam and Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, which are often attached to medical universities. Patients cannot go directly to a Referral Hospital, but they need a reference from a regional hospital first. Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar is a Referral Hospital where patients can go directly, but this is because on the small island of Zanzibar there are no Regional Hospitals.
 
The standard of the departments/wards within one hospital can vary very much (both at Regional and Referral Hospitals), some departments might have good equipment and might be in good condition, typically resulting from money provided by foreign development programs. For instance the HIV/AIDS and physiotherapy wards at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital Zanzibar are very modern, but the pediatric ward is very poor and needs renovation. At Mawenzi Regional Hospital they have recently renovated the main surgery theatre.
 
As the public medical system in Tanzania is not very satisfying, there are many private healthcare facilities.
 
Some are (compared to the public hospitals) expensive and provide better standard (either/or or all in terms of facilities, equipment, or time that a doctor provides to patients), attracting patients who have more money. SIIMA Hospital in Moshi is one of these. Others are funded by charitable organizations or churches (e.g. St. Joseph Hospital). They are of higher price level than the public hospitals to the general public, but might offer free services to particularly poor people in need (which are financed by the money paid by the "richer" patients). In terms of facilities and equipment they are usually better than most public hospitals (unless the public ones have a particular department or ward which got a lot of foreign money). Usually there are fewer patients at the private hospitals and therefore doctors/nurses have more time to give explanations to foreign students/interns.
 
When it comes to doctors, the same doctors work at the public and at the private hospitals. As the salaries are low, they need income from several employers and therefore work at 2-3 hospitals (usually one public and 1-2 private) at the same time.
 
The Regional Hospitals and Referral Hospitals of Tanzania are usually accredited by all international medical universities for elective placements. Final year medical rotations are possible at Muhumbili Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam and Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, which are teaching hospitals of medical universities.
 
Ghana
 
The public health care system of Ghana has three reference levels.
 

The smallest facilities that provide medical first aid (Tertiary Level) are the so-called CHPS (Community Health Compounds), health centers and small hospitals. These facilities perform only outpatient treatment and are usually run by nurses. Each facility is aimed at a population density of about 20,000 people.
 
At Secondary Level are the district hospitals, which are aimed at a population density of about 100,000-200,000 people. The bed capacity is usually not more than 100 beds.
 
These have at least one operating theater and a laboratory and usually offer better medical care than institutions on the tertiary level.
 
The highest level (primary level) are Metropolitan Hospital, Regional Hospital and Municipal Hospital. They are located in cities whose population exceeds 200,000 people and have a correspondingly larger bed capacity. In addition to several operating rooms and relatively good technical equipment, there are general practitioners and specialists in various disciplines to treat patients.
 
The primary level hospitals and many private hospitals such as the University Hospital in Cape Coast are of high standards in terms of facilities, management and expertise. Secondary and Tertiary institutions are often underfunded.
 
Morocco
 
In Morocco we arrange elective placements at private clinics which are of higher standard, often coming close to Western/European standard in terms of facilities, equipment and professional level of the staff. We currently don’t work with public hospitals, as they are very bureaucratic.
 
The private hospitals are expensive for many local people, but they often collect funds for people who are in need, allowing them to provide cheap or free treatments. 
 
At these hospitals, medical students/interns should have no problem to get accreditation for elective placements by international medical universities or nursing schools.
 
Professional volunteers (nurses, therapists and physicians) can volunteer at church-run charitable dispensaries such as the one by the Franciscan Brothers of the White Cross in Tangier, which are typically managed by a nurse, providing free basic medical services to the poorest parts of population. As there is no medical supervision, elective placements are not possible at such dispensaries.
 
India
 
In India, we work with private hospitals of higher standard, for the same reasons as in Morocco. The standard of equipment, facilities and qualification of the doctors are comparable to Europe/North America/Australia. They offer a wide range of departments with high specialization.
 
At these hospitals, medical students/interns shouldn't have any problems to get accreditation for elective placements by international medical universities or nursing schools.
 
Professional volunteers (nurses, therapists and physicians) can volunteer at charitable hospitals which are funded by charitable organizations, but also at medical outreach programs run by several NGOs in slum areas.
 
Nicaragua
 
In Nicaragua we can offer placements at the public hospital HEODRA and private hospial AMOCSA in León.
 
The standard of the public HEODRA hospital is low in terms of equipment and facilities, comparable to Tanzania. Also the situations that many patients have difficulties in raising the funds needed for their medical treatment, that they often only seek for medical services at a late stage of their disease, and the working conditions at the hospitals are very similar to as described in the text about Tanzania. Professional volunteers are very much needed at the public hospitals.
 
HEODRA as a large teaching hospital of León medical university should be fully accredited by all foreign medical universities and nursing schools for electives, internships and final year rotations.
 
The standard of the AMOCSA private hospital in terms of facilities and equipment is better than HEODRA. There are less patients and fees are higher. The doctors have more time for each patient. HEODRA is bigger and has a larger variety of highly specified departments; students will have the chance to see more patients than with AMOCSA. 
 
Also, the same doctors work at HEODRA and AMOCSA. To make a living, they additionally even work at further private hospitals or run their own consultancies.
 
Bolivia
 
The standard at the public hospitals of Bolivia can fluctuate a lot. While some private hospitals are chronically underfunded, others such as the hospitals of the VIEDMA Health Park where we arrange electives, internship and volunteering options often can offer a standard that comes close to the one of European/North American/Australian hospitals. They have a wide variety of specialization and departments.
 
A problem that regularly recurs is that the funds for the salaries of staff and to pay for medicines is not provided, resulting in shortages of medical services.
 
Similar to the what has been described before about Tanzania and Nicaragua, many people cannot afford the treatments at the public hospitals. They only attend medical institutions when their disease is in an advanced stage and in absolute emergencies.
 
Arco Iris is a charitable private hospital in La Paz of very high standard. Relatively rich people pay high fees for their treatment which is of one of the highest standards available in the country, and the money is used to provide free treatment to poor people, particularly street children and children from the poorest classes of society. 40% are paying patients and 60% are not paying.
 
Volunteer placements for healthcare professionals and elective placements/internships for students are possible at all of these hospitals. The hospitals of the VIEDMA Health Park in Cochabamba as large teaching hospitals of medical universities should be fully accredited by all foreign medical universities and nursing schools for electives, internships and final year rotations.
 
Mongolia
 
The medical system of Mongolia is of high standards. There is medical faculty at the University of Ulaanbaatar, also many doctors have studied in Russia or China or even have higher qualifications. There is no teaching hospital at the Mongolia university, so final year rotations are probably not possible. Mongolian medical students do electives with you in various medical institutions.
 
The health care system in Mongolia is organized as a tripartite reference system where patients first seek a "Family Health Center", which is a general physician's office. From there, the patient, if necessary, is referred to the district health centers, the second stage of the reference system, where there are more general medical facilities with more medical equipment (e.g. X-ray, ultrasound, endoscopy) and where general surgical procedures are performed. In such district health centers, about 12 physicians and 60 nurses are available to patients. Both family health centers and district health centers only treat outpatients. In these facilities, electives and internships are available from the 1st year.
 
The third stage in the Mongolian reference system are specialized clinics. There are no major hospitals in Mongolia, which have many specialisations, but instead clinics that are each limited to a field of study. These include hospitalization. For an elective or a nursing internship in these clinics, you should be at least in the 3rd year of study.

Accommodation

 

Accommodation in Mwanza

 

mostpopular

BMC Accommodation and Serengeti Guesthouse

 
On the campus of Bugando Medical College there is a guesthouse of good standard called "BMC Accommodation". This accommodation is particularly save due to the safety personnel of the university campus. A single room is 15 USD per night not including meals. If this guesthouse is fully booked, you can stay at "Serengeti Guesthouse" which offers the same standard at the same rate.
 

Rate

 

I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
wu servicepackage
1 Person
350 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
300 EUR 400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 650 EUR
 
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies
 

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

 
  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype, together with further participants
  • Arrangements for your Residence Permit or similar permit and other official permits (if required), but not the official government fees for it/them (See costs below)
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) on arrival and departure
  • Pick-up and Transfers within Dar-es-Salaam (DAR) (if required) and assistance with connecting travel via bus or flight from DAR to JRO (but not flight/bus tickets) and back
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in Moshi
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • 50 USD Contribution to your project
  • Local SIM Card with 10,000 TSH air time
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • 15% Discount for Safaris, Kilimanjaro Climbs, Excursions and Watersports Activities offered by "Budget Safari Tanzania"
 

The Rates do NOT include:

 
  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Tanzania (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa and Residence Permit (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.
 

II. Accommodation Costs

 
You can find accommodation costs in the tab "Accommodation".
 

Overview of other costs:

 
  • If meals are not included: around 110-200 USD/Month for self-catering (eating out at affordable yet good restaurants and/or cooking by yourself; you are much more flexible in this way compared to if we would serve food at your accommodation)
  • Visa and Permits (mainland Tanzania): In case of stay of up to 90 days: Visa 250 USD for most nationals; In case of stay of 91-180 days: Visa (incl. extension) 550 USD; 181-365 days: Visa 50 USD (for most nationals, except US and Canadian Citizens who pay 100 USD) + Residence Permit 200 USD + Work Permit 500 USD.
  • Small local expenses (e.g. Internet, local transport): around 30-50 USD/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 30-50 USD/Month

 

How do I pay?

 
Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit of 200 EUR when the invoice is issued. One months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package and for the first month of rent.
 
Rent from the 2nd month, possible further contributions to the NGO or for internship supervision (see info box of the respective project description), and costs for visa and possibly further official permits you pay directly at your destination (unless we inform you differently for certain placements). There are ATMs. 
 

Extras

 

Other Projects That Might Interest You:

 
 
These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.
 
 

Safaris, Kilimanjaro Climbs, Day Trips, Watersports

 
budgetsafaribannerAs "Budget Safari Tanzania" we are arranging cost-effective yet high-quality safaris, Kilimanjaro climbs, excursions, and watersports activities in Tanzania and Zanzibar. You will group with other World Unite! participants and further travellers.
 
As a World Unite! participant, you get a 15% discount on all offers of Budget Safari Tanzania. We will share a Discount Code with you that you can use with the online booking of your safari, Kilimanjaro climb, excursion or watersports activity.
 
 
 

Travel Health Insurance

 
We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
 
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.
 
 
 

Mwanza

 

Photo Gallery: Mwanza and Victoria

 
 

Mwanza

 
Mwanza is Tanzania's second largest city. The urban planned city center is relatively modern, with wide streets around the central clock tower. In contrast to Dar-es-Salaam, the city has a relaxed atmosphere. Many residents of Mwanza work in fisheries. Compared to places in Tanzania, where there is more tourism, foreigners are less afflicted by street vendors in Mwanza. The cost of food and local products and services are significantly lower here than in Dar-es-Salaam or Zanzibar.
 
The region is predominantly Christian, and there are many churches. Many locals, mostly belonging to the Christian group, Sukoma, wear Western clothes, but are conservative. We advise you to dress conservatively and not show too much skin.
 
 

Our Coordinator in Mwanza

 
Our coordinator in Mwanza is Mosses.
 
 

Recreational Activities in Mwanza

 
The area around Mwanza is breathtaking with the Victoria and the mighty rocks, the so-called "Inselbergs" that protrude unexpectedly from the savannah. The "Dancing Rocks" in Bwiru are an attraction; they appear to dance in the changing light and shadows. At sunset, you can watch the local fishermen as they go fishing on the lake in Mwanza.
 
For anyone interested in nature and especially birds, Mwanza is a paradise. It has a large number of different species of birds such as vultures, kites, ospreys, herons and kingfishers. Since the airline FastJet flies to Mwanza, the number of tourists has increased, coming to the Serengeti ; the western part of the National Park is only about 2 hours away from Mwanza. The previously little-known Rubondo Iceland National Park consists of 12 islands in Lake Victoria. Since there are no roads or vehicles on the island, you can get here only by hiking and boat safaris, during which you can see crocodiles, chimpanzees, monkeys, hippos, antelope and more than 400 species of birds.
 
 

Getting There

 

Getting To Mwanza (Lake Victoria)

 
tanzania map
 
You book your flight to Mwanza (MWZ) and share with us your flight details. There, you will be picked up at the airport and taken to your accommodation.
 
You can also compare whether it is much cheaper to book your international flight to Dar-es-Salaam (DAR) and then separately book a domestic flight with www.fastjet.com from DAR to MWZ.
 

FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 
Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
In the case of Muhimbili National Hospital, your start date is fixed. You can arrive a few days before or after according to flight fares. Just give us your flight details and we will pick you up even in the middle of the night. For other projects, e.g. in Dar-es-Salaam, there is usually flexibility as to the exact start date.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course you can travel around, almost all of our participants do so. In Moshi and Zanzibar, we ourselves often offer day trips, for which you can join other volunteers and interns when you travel there. We share these trips with you in our monthly subscriber list and you can book them. Participants often organize on-site travel together. In Moshi and Zanzibar, you can stay at the same low rates as our Zanzibar or Moshi participants in accommodations provided by us. If you plan to travel during your volunteering/internship period, you should seek permission in advance. We recommend that you plan your travel after your volunteering/internship. For this, you can also stay longer in your accommodation at affordable rates.
Is it safe to travel in Tanzania alone as a single female traveller?
Approximately 80% of our participants are female and many of them, only about 20 years old. Not a single instance of a serious security breach has occurred. Our coordinator will advise you on how you should conduct yourself in order to avoid problems - your dressing style, valuables, and in dealing with local men. Our preparation materials elaborate on this matter. If you follow these basic rules that apply equally to many other places, the risk in Dar-es-Salaam is not great.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Dar-es-Salam?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Dar-es-Salam, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
In Dar-es-Salaam, you can live in a student residence or with a host family. Details are in the tab "Accommodation" on this page.
Can I search for the family myself?
Yes, we will provide you with the options.
How free or bound am I in my accommodation with the host family?
With the host family, you can have your freedom, and do not need to join them during meal times or have any other obligations. If you will return late in the evening, you need to let them know in advance, so that they can unlock the doors for you (which are locked at night for security reasons). Bringing home casual acquaintances is taboo. They look to integrate our participants into their family life, but you can determine to what extent you want to be part of it.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
In Tanzania, Internet is accessed via the mobile phone networks. With smartphones, you can use the Internet. For laptops, there are USB modem sticks for about 10 EUR. There are no flat rates; you use data packets, depending on your needs. You might consume 2 GB of data in a week, which costs about 4.50 EUR. In the centers of cities (Moshi Town, Dar-es-Salaam, Mwanza, Zanzibar Town, Karatu, etc.), the connection is good, the speed is satisfactory and sufficient for Skype phone calls. In the suburbs and in the country, there is connection, but usually almost impossible or very slow and unreliable. We will provide you information on the use of mobile Internet in Tanzania.
How can I do my laundry?
In general, laundry is washed by hand in Tanzania. You can ask your landlord or host family if they have someone who can wash your clothes. Usually, someone offers that to you for a small fee. Please ask your local supervisor, what the appropriate thing to do is.
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Tanzania is a meat-eating country and Tanzanians do not usually understand that someone who could afford meat and who is not sick, volunteered to give up meat; but the host families are familiar with participants, and understand that some are vegetarians, and prepare appropriate food. In Dar-es-Salaam, there are Indian vegetarian restaurants, with a wide choice of dishes. In the market, there are a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Special dietary needs (e.g. Vegan, allergies to certain foods) can be expressed to the host families, and many foods are available in the supermarket.
What language skills do I need?
You should be able to make yourself understood in English. The national language of Tanzania is Swahili, but knowledge of English is widespread, especially among people who have a better education or work in tourism. In everyday life, there is usually no problem to be able to communicate in English; if you should come across someone who can not speak English, you can almost immediately find someone who offers to translate in English. If you are in a social project for a longer duration, you will have to deal with people who have little or no education. For this, it is useful to acquire at least a basic knowledge of Swahili before your arrival through any book (or audio CD). You can also take basic Swahili lessons while on site. We also have vocabulary lists with useful words that can help you.
Why is it that meals/accommodation are not provided when I'm not even paid for my internship/volunteering?
In Tanzania, there are just a few hotel accommodations for interns. Non-profit organizations do not have the financial means to provide you such kind of accommodation. Such a thing would also not make much sense, considering the average income in Tanzania. A nurse there earns maybe 200 USD per month and can therefore, make only a modest life. Accommodation and food of the standard expected by interns and most foreign volunteers would cost more than this and make it expensive for the NGO, firmly set up locally to create jobs. Foreign volunteers and interns should not thus, compete for the few jobs available in Tanzania.
 
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