A Family of Voluntourists

In September 2014, Brisbane mother and daughter team, Robbie and Molly Wagner set off for Tanzania to help bring clean water to a Masai school. Let’s hear what motivated them to work on their holiday and find out whether they’d do it again.

photo 1Q. Robbie, this is the second Community Project in Tanzania that you’ve done with World Expeditions. Can you tell us why you incorporate volunteering into your travels?

A. Volunteering is an important aspect when travelling as it helps to change the perspectives of my children’s view on the world. Volunteering keeps the teenagers grounded and develops their respect to the small things in life. It’s my way of role modelling to my children. It encourages them to see the world in different ways.

Q. Robbie, on each project one of your teenage children has joined you. This must be an incredible experience for them. From your point of view what do you think your children gain from the experience?

A. As teenagers they have learnt it’s important to help others who are not as fortunate as themselves. It is an incredible experience for them helping in the development of life skills for learning, caring and travelling. A gift I’m glad to be sharing with my teenagers!

photo 4Q. Molly, what was your favourite part of this adventure with your mum to Tanzania? 

A. The trip as a whole was simply amazing. It was a sensational experience that I will never forget. To travel to a different country and to be immersed in such a diverse and vibrant culture meant that many life long lessons and friends were made. The staffs at Kakoi village and the Osupuko Lodge were more than generous, but to see the difference we made to their lives as well as their family and surrounding communities was phenomenal.

Q. Molly, tell us about the activities you were involved in on the Kakoi village project?

A. There were various activities that as a group, we participated in, however the main initiative was the running of the pipeline to the school. Once running water was established we then proceeded to spend a few hours amongst the school helping the children with the basic English skills. Whilst doing so, I took a step back to admire how the children appreciated such a little gesture. Immersing myself amongst their school life made me grasp at the opportunities we are given not only at school but also in Australia.

Q. Molly, what did you learn from the volunteer project work at Kakoi village?

photo 3A. One of the most memorable skills that I will most definitely be crediting to this rewarding experience is open mindedness. This however was most definitely not the only skill I got to put into action whilst developing my part in the community service.  A few that featured throughout were strong use of teamwork, communication and determination.

Q. Robbie, how were you received by the communities of Magara and Kakoi? 

A. Both communities welcomed us very warmly. They strongly appreciated our help in aiding their community’s necessities. It was amazing to see how from the poorest of areas, families and individuals appreciated the smallest of gestures we did.

Q. What was the communities’ reaction to the finished pipeline project? 

A. Seeing the reaction from the local community had to be one of the most extraordinary and fulfilling feelings. To see how much our little act of selflessness can change so many people’s lives was unreal. It’s not only the feeling of changing someone’s life forever but to know that we accomplished this made it so much more enjoyable.

Q. Robbie, the benefits to the traveller partaking in one of these projects are clear, what about the local community? 

A. The benefits to the local community are enormous; running water to their primary school is now accessible. Their whole community has changed with this pipeline. It gives them a wide access to resources for uses such as educational, medical and for life in general. If you think about our well off lives now, when you look at it from our perspectives we use water everyday for a wide range of intentions. Now they can too, firstly addressing their need for safe drinking water.

Q. Ladies, what would you tell someone who was considering volunteering on their travels? 

A. From both of our positions, words can’t say enough about how life changing a simple experience like this is to ones life. The journey was such a smooth sail with a friendly team on either side. Our journey was more enjoyable by the knowing that we were volunteering on the other side of our safari. The trip will most certainly be treasured and remembered.