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Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering

What are APW’s volunteer needs?
APW relies on a network of volunteers to host fundraising events in the U.S. that help make our work possible. For more information, please contact us.

How can I volunteer?
APW does not have an established “Volunteers Program.” However, we do review applicants on a case by case basis. Volunteers should have a working knowledge of Swahili.

Frequently Asked Questions about Student Internships and Visiting Noloholo

Travel Preparation

What should I do about bringing money?
You will need Tanzanian shillings for your time here. There are both ATM machines and Bureau de changes in Arusha. We suggest you bring at least some American dollars with you in case of emergency, but withdrawing and exchanging money should not be a problem in Arusha.  However, there are no banks or places to exchange money in Loibor Siret, so please do all of this prior to coming to the Noloholo Environmental Center.  IMPORTANT: Tanzania will only accept new American bills from 2005 onward (since they changed to the counterfeit proof design).  Also, larger bills have a better exchange rate here.

Should I take anti-malarial medication? Which?
APW is not responsible for giving medical advice or for any medical conditions/illnesses contracted during your visit. We recommend you speak to your physician. Malarone is currently recommended by many doctors, though it is the most expensive.

Should I get a rabies shot?
You are unlikely to get rabies. However, APW is not responsible for giving medical advice or for any medical conditions/illnesses contracted during your visit. We recommend you speak to your physician.

What other vaccinations do I need?
Yellow fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B, Polio, MMR are recommended by most doctors. Again, you should speak to your physician for the most up-to-date information on travel to Tanzania.  Yellow fever is required to enter the country.

What do I need to do to get a visa?
You can get a 3-month travelers visa with no hassle at the airport when you arrive. However, you may also obtain a visa in advance at the Tanzanian embassy in Washington, D.C. or New York. Be sure to check in advance for the current visa fee (payable in U.S. dollars). Students conducting original research in Tanzania will have to submit research permit applications prior to travel. All interns should contact APW before securing a visa as in some cases a volunteer’s visas must be secured (only available in Tanzania). APW can help you with this in advance of your visit (allow at least one month to secure this permit).

What kind of language proficiency do I need?
Swahili and Maasai are the languages spoken in the community around the environmental center. Students should have a working knowledge of Swahili as a prerequisite to interning with APW.

When should I arrive and leave?
Each visitor has different requirements and schedules. Visits/study periods are arranged on an individual basis.


Getting to Noloholo

How do I get to Tanzania?
There are several options for flying to Tanzania.  It is easiest to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).  From there, you can take a cab for about $50 USD to Arusha (about an hour away).  We have had interns in the past fly in on KLM and Ethiopian Airlines with no problem. Noloholo is then a 3-4 hour drive from Arusha. 

How do I get from Arusha to the bush?
If our staff is in Arusha, you may get a ride in an APW vehicle to the environmental center.  If we are unable to retrieve you, there is a company that can drive you out for a fee.


Conditions at Noloholo

Where will I stay?
The APW headquarters and environmental center, Noloholo, is located on the southeastern boundary of Tarangire National Park, just outside the village center of Loibor Siret. The center is equipped with student tents, or you may bring your own tent to camp from.  We have recently completed construction of a dormitory.  Assuming we are having no other groups of visitors, staying in the dorm is also an option.

What is Loibor Siret like?
Loibor Siret is a small village of approximately 5000 residents, mostly Maasai. The village center contains a few small shops where you can find soda, flour, sugar, kerosene and a few other basic items. There is also a weekly market where some crafts and roasted goat are sold.  NOTE: the village center is about 10 km from Noloholo, though daily trips are often made.

How often will students be in Arusha?
A trip into town once a month to restock food may be necessary and/or desired. More time in town may be required depending on the nature of your project.

What kind of bathroom facilities will I have access to?
Bathroom facilities at the environmental center are standard. Our office/classroom area is equipped with two bathrooms with running water and flush toilets. Otherwise, there are several drop toilets.  Due to limited water availability, hot bush-style showers are available once a day, in the evening, if desired. Water is a valuable resource out here, so prepare to be water conscious at the center.

What kind of food is available at the environmental center?
Communal eating is standard with lots of traditional ugali (a corn flour dish similar to polenta), beans, cabbage with carrots, and rice. Fresh vegetables and fruit are not generally available in Loibor Siret, but are brought regularly from Arusha. Please email ahead of time if you have any special dietary restrictions or allergies (if you are a vegetarian, etc.). Meals are generally at 7am, 1pm, and 7pm.  If you are accustomed to snacking throughout the day, you may consider bringing snacks (such as trail bars) with you, as they are difficult to find in Tanzania.

Is drinking water easy to obtain?
All drinking water is filtered through two particle filters and a UV filter.  It is perfectly safe to drink. If you prefer, bottled water is available for purchase in the village. Water is a valuable resource out here, so prepare to be water conscious at the center.

Is there any danger from wild animals at camp?
There have been no problems in the past with wild animals; however, they do roam freely through the environmental center grounds. Each tent/accommodation has a lantern outside it during the night to deter any animals. Students and visitors are asked not to move far from their tents/accommodations at night. Additionally, at night, be aware before leaving your tent and shine a flashlight to check for eye shine.

How is laundry done?
Your laundry will be done by our staff.  However, you are responsible for washing your own personal items.  Due to handwashing, please be aware that clothes may be stretched. If you are coming in the dry season (Northern summer), it is quite dusty – whites may not be the best idea.


Communicating from Noloholo

Where will I have internet access?
Internet access at the Noloholo Environmental Center is available, though sometimes intermittent, if you purchase a Vodacom GPRS card and SIM card.  The GPRS card is plugged into a computer’s USB port and picks up wireless internet via the cell tower.  It is important to note, though, that you must pay for internet by the MB (currently it is 2,000 TSH for 50 MB).  While it is available, it is difficult to upload or download large files, and programs like Skype may not work.  We suggest you download as much as you can before you get here.  Otherwise, checking email etc. works fine. NOTE: It is best to download a Mail Client, such as Thunderbird, etc before coming to the center, as this is the quickest and least expensive manner of receiving your emails.

Is there cell phone reception at the environmental center?
Loibor Siret recently acquired intermittent cell phone reception in parts of the village. The environmental center receives a somewhat reliable signal, but visitors should not expect to have consistent access. Also, we prefer phones are turned off during your visit to the center, so you can enjoy the full bush experience. APW has a satellite phone at the environmental center in the event of any emergency.  If you intend on bringing your own phone, only Vodacom SIM cards will work here.

Is there an address that I can have mail sent to?
The Tanzanian People & Wildlife Fund, PO Box 11306, Arusha, Tanzania.  Be aware that mail sent to and from the U.S. is slow in transit. Postcards and letters cannot be sent from the environmental center, rather only from Arusha. Mail is only checked during trips to Arusha.  If timely delivery is required, please use FedEx or DHL, as they are very reliable here.


What to bring

What are the cultural restrictions for women?
Women need not wear skirts in Tanzania, but women are asked to wear long pants or Capri-pants when in the rural villages. You may dress as you want in Arusha or at the environmental center. The role of Maasai women in the community around Noloholo is quite different from the United States, but American women are not expected to abide by these cultural differences.

What kind of books should I read/bring?
Bring books to read for entertainment in the bush. A Swahili dictionary will be useful as well as tree, bird, and animal identification books as one sees fit.

What will the climate be like?
In June, July, and August, it is winter in Tanzania. Bring warm clothes; pants, sweaters, fleeces and hats are recommended. It gets particularly cold at night. During the day the temperature is in the 70s and 80s (F). Long pants are best for women.

Should I bring shoes?
Yes. The vegetation is quite thorny, so you will want good shoes to protect your feet.  Flip-flops, tevas, crocs, or other outdoor shoes are fine for around the center. Bring at least one pair of shoes that are good for hiking.

Should I bring a coat?
A warm fleece and windbreaker for the mornings and evenings will be useful, as well as night game drives. You might also want to bring a thin layer for the occasional chilly, overcast day.

Will I need sunscreen?
Yes. A high SPF is recommended. A hat and sunglasses are also a must. Long sleeves are also an effective way of protecting against the sun.

Do I need to bring a tent?
APW may have tents available for use, but check on this ahead of time.  Otherwise, you may bring your own tent. Dorm stay is also an option if the rooms are available.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?
A sleeping bag that goes down to 40°F will suffice for sleeping at Noloholo. You might want to bring a sleeping mat, but we can provide a foam mattress for your tent that is perfectly comfortable to sleep on.

Should I bring my laptop?
If you have one, you will want your computer to write proposals and papers, enter data, and check email. Remember an adapter for the power outlets and something to put your computer in to keep out the dust!

Do I need binoculars?
Yes, binoculars are a must for anyone spending time at the environmental center!


Other Questions

Will I get to visit Tarangire National Park?
A trip to the park is definitely in order during your stay. Daily permit fees and limited transportation make visits infrequent, but exciting. Please inquire about the additional costs in advance. Park fees are payable via credit card or US dollars.

Where can I travel alone?
At Noloholo, you may walk within the center’s nucleus, but because of wild animals, solitary walks beyond the camp and at night are not permitted.

Where can I travel at night?
Nighttime travel outside of the center is not permitted without a car, as there are many animals in the area.  Travel throughout camp is fine, but remain vigilant for animal eye shine by shining your flashlight around. In Arusha, travel at night by taxi is recommended.

What can I do with valuables?
We have not had any problems with theft at the environmental center. However, it is recommended that you bring locks for your valuable items at the center. If necessary, some items can also be stored in the center’s main office.