TIA: This is Africa

You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

Just 2 weeks later and Africa is already behind me. My time there went by so quickly, but the memories will stick with me forever. I will never forget the way the kids’ faces would light up when given a ball to play with or the first time that I saw Maureen smile. Every little thing like these just further confirmed that I made the right choice in volunteering. By far, my favorite part of every day was seeing the kids sing the “Mzungu bus” song. Mzungu is a term used for white people, and the kids would sing this song whenever they saw the “bus” pulling up and beeping the horn.

These kids all have no choice but to grow up quickly and take on so many adult responsibilities. Holiday Club lets the kids actually be kids for a few hours every day, and having the opportunity to be a part of that is beyond words. The last day of Holiday Club we had the kids write letters to us since we would be leaving. You can see pictures of a few of them below. And really, these letters just sum up why volunteering was such a worthwhile and rewarding experience that everyone should take advantage of at some point in their lives. It really puts things in perspective and showed me even more how to appreciate the little things in life. Having goods like shoes or running water is such a blessing, and back home these things are majorly taken for granted.

Letter from the kids Letter from the kids Letter from the kids

And then there are the other volunteers. Although we were only together for a short period of time, I feel like it was much longer. I have been blessed to meet so many lifelong friends from all over the world that I truly hope I will run into again at a later time in my life.

Chobe Boat Cruise

African time will forever make everything in the US seem speedy quick. Waiting in line for half an hour to get money exchanged quickly lets you experience the meaning of TIA (This is Africa). The phrase is used often across Africa, and is meant to help you adjust to new situations and experiences where things do not always work out the way you intended. Every day things and places do not operate the way some foreigners might expect them to, and the concept of time is a whole new experience out there. 15 minutes can mean 1 or 2 hours. Two days in African time may actually mean 4 days realistically.

Working with African Impact has been a fantastic experience that I wouldn’t take back for the world. The staff was amazing to work with- everyone was extremely welcoming, helpful, and passionate about their work. I hope that I have to chance to return to Africa again and I will always remember the community and the wonderful people I met along my journey.

African Impact

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” -Ghandi

Little Truly Does Matter,


  1. Hello I liked some of your posts. I would like to share some of them on http://winjaas.com do I get permission from you? Of course i would love if you can do it yourself

  2. shawski23 Says: January 31, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Dang Marissa! These are some awesome posts you have here! Excited to see your next adventure. I’ve just started a blog, but pretty rookie at the moment. Figuring out how to make it as animated and exciting as yours:) Keep it up

  3. Hey Marissa!
    That was quite the adventure! Love the letters from the kids, I hope you get to see them again at some point!


  4. Loved the letters from the children – what special memories for you!

  5. […] few months ago I returned from Zambia on a volunteer teaching program. I went there to teach kids in the community. But I came back home with the discovery that not […]

  6. I have just made a blog as I’m planning to do some volunteering with African Impact and want to document it in come way. I’ve just discovered your blog and I think its great. Would you recommend African Impact and do you have any advice about volunteering with the company? 🙂

    • That is great to hear! African Impact was a pleasure to work with and I would definitely recommend volunteering with them. Keeping a blog during your time there or writing about it afterwards is a fantastic way to document your travels and share your stories with many other people!

      I would suggest trying to make use of all of the resources they provide so you feel prepared before you leave. Check out the #AskAlanna hashtag on Twitter to start with. There is a monthly chat where future volunteers ask past volunteers various questions about African Impact and their programs.

      Do you know which program you are thinking of going on yet? I would love to talk with you more if you have any additional questions or concerns. Feel free to send me an email at [email protected]!

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