Before arriving at the Frontier Tanzania camp on Mafia island I had never spent much time in a developing country, let alone volunteering in one. Needless to say I was a bit apprehensive however after arriving on camp with a bunch of fellow volunteers these apprehensions quickly disappeared. I have now spent three months working at this site, and I still love every single day of it. When my two months as a volunteer was nearing an end I didn't want to leave, so I was given the opportunity to apply for the conservation apprentice role and stay as a full member of staff, I eagerly took this chance and haven't looked back since.
What can I say about the camp, the facilities are basic but this is more than made up for by the atmosphere, camp mates are always a good laugh and everyone in my time here have always got on great. If camp life does get too much then there is always the local village and beach lodges to entertain you, many a night has been spent in the local bar, or down by the beach, relaxing under the stars or with a cold locally brewed beer in hand.
Then comes the project work itself, I was lucky enough to have applied for the marine project, I came out a lowly open water diver but during my stay I have progressed all the way up the ladder to become a fully qualified Dive master, all thanks to Frontiers, amazing dive instructors. Most days are spent on the boat, or under the water, conducting Baseline surveys of the marine life found within the Mafia island Marine park, the data collected is analyzed by us then used by the Marine park office to maintain the marine park. It makes it feel all worthwhile knowing the data you collect is used to save some amazing animals that would otherwise be at the mercy of the modern world.
The work experience has been fantastic and for the first time in my life I can honestly say what I want to do in the future, which for me has been by far the best thing to come out of a trip that has been full of great memories and new friends.
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