Volunteer Tales

By Savita Bailur and Helen Rana (editors)

A unique anthology of volunteer experiences overseas, providing both a practical and a humorous guide to volunteering abroad.

ISBN: 9780718830304


“During the last night at Boca de Tomates a violent tropical storm raged across the coast, stampeding through the camp and devastating our home. We watched in awe as the already-slanting structure swayed precariously around us, as chunks of the roof flew off into the sky and as a nearby palm tree was struck by lightning. . . . Our comfortable Brighton flat and the once ubiquitous chatter of house prices and internet millionaires seemed a world away.”

A great number of people consider volunteering at some point in their life and this is a nuts and bolts guide to volunteering full of honest accounts from the people who know. These are true-life accounts from people of all walks of life and ages who decided to leave their ‘normal’ lives behind to take up the volunteer challenge overseas. Their stories include tales of travel and adventure, tales of hardship, tales of kindness, frustration and humour. Reading them, you too will experience culture shock in Ghana, the fear of war in Sierra Leone, helplessness in the face of poverty in Cambodia, fishing for piranha in Suriname, the struggles of an outsider in China and much, much more. They will open your eyes to new worlds and may even change your outlook in the ways they changed the volunteers.

Volunteer Tales will appeal to those who have already volunteered abroad or are considering it. It can be comforting and interesting to know that others have gone through similar experiences and, in the latter case, extremely useful to know what it would be like. Each contribution has something different to offer and is particularly fascinating for anyone wanting to know the reality of a country they may intend to visit. However, these stories will also be enjoyed by readers with no interest in becoming a volunteer at all. They provide entertaining, humorous reading brimming with memories from life on the road.

Additional information

Dimensions 224 × 156 mm
Pages 192

Trade Information LGEN

About the Author

Helen Rana was a VSO volunteer in Zambia, where she worked as Publishing Adviser in a gender research and development NGO in the capital city, Lusaka. Her career now focuses on providing editorial and research services for universities, cultural and creative organisations. Her website is at www.helenrana.com.

Savita Bailur was an AFS volunteer in Honduras, where she was a socio-economic researcher for RECAP (rebuilding Honduran infrastructure after Hurricane Mitch). Her career has focused on project management positions at several large electronic publishing companies.


Foreword by Anita Roddick OBE
About the Editors

1. Culture Shock!
2. There Are Many Kinds of Volunteer
3. It’s Not Easy Getting the Work Done
4. Life Is Hard, You Learn Humility
5. It’s a Struggle Trying to Fit in
6. You Learn to Understand the Local Culture – Good and Bad
7. You Cheat – You Get More Than You Give!
8. Volunteering Changes Everything – Now Back Home Seems Weird Too