Butakoola Village Association for Development (BUVAD)

We will be volunteering with BUVAD this November and December 2010. Prior to our time there, we will be fund raising for the project by selling Karma Travels wristbands for $2 each. Proceeds from these efforts will go towards a new well for Butakoola Village to provide potable drinking water for up to 1,800 villagers. Butakoola Village is located fifty miles outside Kampala, Uganda, East Africa. Click on the logo to check out their website…

Pisco Sin Fronteras


We volunteered in an earthquake relief effort in Pisco, Peru. Two years ago they had an earthquake that topped 7 on the Richter Scale and destroyed almost the entire city. We helped with various projects, including demolition, cleanup, and rebuilding.

The people in this project were great and it is by far the most organized project we have worked on to date. If you are looking for a project for any amount of time or to donate money to an organization, this one would be it! They accept volunteers for any amount of time and provide room and board for very cheap! Please ask if you are at all interested in volunteering or donating as we would highly suggest helping this great organization. The people here need your help and no one deserves to live in the conditions many of these people live in. This organization is making great strides in improving the conditions here and none of the money is wasted. Harold, the director, is a great guy and it is very apparent that all of the money and effort given to this organization go to good use. Click on the logo to check out their website…

Expand Peru

We volunteered in a Special Education Center for children with disabilities. The school was government funded and run with very basic facilities and student teachers taught all the classes and did physical therapy with the students. We were looked at as doctors and wore white lab coats while we were there. Half our job was to handle our own case load of children for physical therapy and the other half was to teach the physical therapy students and school teachers how to work with people with disabilities as none of them have any training in this whatsoever.

The organization as a whole acts more as a middle man organization. The program fees go largely towards renting space for an after school program, which most volunteers help with in the afternoons. During this time you help children with homework, then play with them for awhile. Overall we think we could have been provided more information up front and could have had better communication throughout the program to know what we were supposed to be doing. If you are not a self-motivated person, then this program would not be for you. However, if you are self-motivated, this is a great way to get into a program, then have the freedom to start your own project. The people are very friendly and the home stays are for the most part great. Again, feel free to contact us before going for some important bits of information. Click on the logo to check out their website…

Widecast Association

We volunteered in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge collecting and relocating eggs to help ensure a successful future for Leatherback Sea Turtles. We did this by walking on nightly patrols up and down designated sections of beach, watching for nesting turtles. They would create large track marks, which are just churned up areas of dirt, that looked similar to what a large tractor would do if it were working on the beach. If the turtle decided to nest, we would take measurements of the turtle, collect its eggs, and measure its nest. We would also track wounds, deformities, and tracking numbers. We would relocate eggs to a hatchery to be watched around the clock by other volunteers.

The project was very relaxed during the day and in a 24 hour period, you would be assigned to either a 4 hour patrol (8pm-12am or 12am-4am) or a hatchery shift (6pm-12am, 12am-6am, 6am-12pm, 12pm-6pm). Research Assistants lead the patrols, so you do have guidance. Volunteers stay in host homes or in the volunteer residence. We would suggest staying in Sandra’s house. The food was amazing and Sandra is very nice and willing to work on your Spanish with you!

Our overall impression of the project is that it was only somewhat organized. The scientific portion of the project is organized and that is apparent. The daily process is more easily relayed by volunteers rather than actual staff members. If you are not afraid to ask a few questions and go with the flow a bit, the project can be quite relaxing and interesting. Days are usually spent relaxing by the beach or in the shade with a book unless you have other plans or get a daytime hatchery shift. You can request to have your shift switched. It is very possible to go on your own through the organization. We do not suggest staying at the office in San Jose unless you really need to. It is basically just a closet with a bed and you will be alone – it is not an actual volunteer hostel as is portrayed. Feel free to write us with questions if you are thinking about going. It is definitely worth it, it just helps to have some information from a previous volunteer before hand. Click on the logo to check out their website…