Preparing Your Home For A Cold Winter

With October rounding up, and the fall and winter seasons coming upon us, it’s quickly becoming more and more cold as the days pass. When just a week ago you could walk outside in a t-shirt and shorts, now, the mornings are dipping down as low as 30 degrees or less. As winter and freezing temperatures come around, older homes are more susceptible to outdoor environments and potentially hazardous conditions occurring, such as frozen pipes or extremely drafty rooms and halls. A cold house is never a healthy one, so it’s vital that you make sure that your home is prepared for a cold winter, especially if you happen to live in an area that has extreme temperatures or you have an older home that isn’t as weatherproof as a newer one.

Winter-proofing your home can take the form of a variety of things, depending on your house’s current setup and existing layout. One of the first, most important things you should do, is ensure that your furnace and heating system is in proper condition. If you have an older home, you may need to look into potential furnace & heater repair before the winter season, to make sure there are no issues that could lead to potentially expensive problems.

After you’ve taken the time to check out your furnace and heater, the next important step is to start finding any holes, gaps, or cracks in your home’s foundation so there isn’t any warm air leaking out of the house, or cold air coming in. You can go to most large commercial stores and purchase a giant roll of weather-proofing tape, which are generally foam-based strips that can be used in gaps and cracks around your home to block air drafts. This is one of the cheapest options for saving money and winter-proofing your home, because small gaps and cracks under your doors or throughout your windows can greatly contribute to higher utility costs and a colder home.

Another great tip for preparing your home for the cold season is to hang up curtains or blankets over the window panes. This is another form of affordable insulation, that can save you the cost of replacing entire window panes. Blackout curtains are great for retaining heat in the winter time and keeping out the heat during summers. When you decide to go through with insulating your home, putting in weather stripping and hanging up curtains are the top two options that are both convenient and cost-efficient.

There are plenty of horror stories online of older homes, and even newly-built homes, undergoing massive structural and foundational damage because of cold weather leading to pipes bursting and flooding the home. Taking the proper steps before the cold weather strikes can make the winter season much more tolerable and easier to manage. Saving money on utilities can be as simple as you make it. Winter-proofing your home can take a little bit of planning and time, but the effort more than pays for itself when you see not only your heating costs going down, but notice the comfort levels in your home drastically improving.


Why Organizations & Volunteer Teachers Change Lives in Africa

Sitting in Tamazalak, Nigeria sits a school that was founded by a Belgian organization in during the late 1980s. While the organization managed to build the classrooms, dining hall, and kitchen, they were not able to continue construction due to the Tuareg rebellion.

The school for nomadic children allows families to choose one child to live at the school to study while the family is out on migration. Its boarding facilities and people provide students with food as well as a garden with cows to help feed the children.

As true as many would say, volunteering as a teacher in Nigeria will leave an everlasting impression and engrave in your heart by at last one student. It is the positivity energy, fresh new face, and creative motivation that will inspire you to instill education in such young beings and lead them to their belief and confidence that they can do whatever they put their mind to and be what they hope to be someday.

Africa is filled with optimism and the willing to change. These notions come with the reflection of schools and their students. The school system in Nigeria is diverse with private schools and run-down classrooms with low staff and poor resources. That is where the demand for volunteer teachers comes in. It is through teaching that students can learn things they must know to help them gain a better education and a brighter future.

It is through volunteers and donations that students will get the most opportunities in school as the Nigerian government provides less for the provision of teachers. In schools with only enough room for 60 students, quickly turn into more than 100 students. Due to such crowded circumstances, these students are forced to share desks, sit on the floor or even the desk to find room.

During trips to Africa, volunteers who work with organizations will host a variety of clinics to different villages in efforts to spread health awareness to any many villagers as possible. Over the course of these trips, more than 1,500 patients come to seek health assistance.

Another important reason why organizations and volunteers change lives in Africa is through education in the important of education and proper health. It is through such organizations that help lead communities to become healthier and develop their motivation to raise education and awareness. With that, come volunteers who are ready and willing to give health demonstrations and visit schools to educate the youth.

Not only do organizations help improve the lives of those who need it the most, it is the same people who come from different cultures and backgrounds that share in community lunches, traditional dances, and the cultural exchange that enlightens volunteers of the meaning of life. Through these experiences, both families and volunteers can become a closer global community and brighten the future.

Have you volunteered abroad in places like Africa? Do you have a story to tell? Comment below share your stories with us!…

4 Things Teachers Should Know Before Volunteering in Africa

The African classroom is unlike any other classroom you will find anywhere in the world. While this sounds a little biased, it is a result of various extenuating circumstances. In Africa, you will find children with the utmost appreciation for teachers in nearly every classroom you visit in Africa.

Here are 4 things teachers should know before volunteering in Africa.

Africa has limited educational resources

In Africa, the general class ration is higher than you might have imagined. With an overwhelming number of as many as 60 children per teacher, the one-on-one levels of education make it much more difficult for students who have trouble with comprehension. This prevents students from reaching their full potential and attention needed to progress. Unfortunately, the school system has a literacy rate of less than 50%.

Depending on the school and where you teach, the number of school desks and chairs will vary and often be less than the needed amount for students. This forces students to sit on the floor, share chairs, and even on the desks. There is also a limited supply of materials and textbooks, which causes lessons to take much longer than you would expect.

Their outside lives shows within the classroom

Most students attending township schools often come from low-economic backgrounds and struggle with poor home environments. As a volunteer teacher, you will need to be prepared on how to deal with such experiences and difficulties in learning. Students many often complain of hunger, because they were not able to eat breakfast or dinner the night before. As a result, fatigue and low sense of energy will not be uncommon.

In fact, many students will travel long distances to attend such schools and end up traveling for as many as three hours each way.

Backgrounds will vary

Africa is a melting pot of different cultures and people. With this fact, it makes it such an interesting place to teach. Students will have different views and responses to the situation. With that said, the key is to embrace the new culture through sights, sounds, and opportunities.

It is important to remember that while English is taught as the official language in politics and business, it isn’t the same in Africa. In fact, English is rarely used in most areas in comparison to native languages such as Zulu and Xhosa. It is important to note that while you may be teaching English in Africa, you will need to expand your language skills.

The communities welcome foreign teachers

While there is a negative perception of the characters you meet on the streets, the community respects volunteer teachers who try to help improve their children’s education and the conditions of the community. You must prepare for sudden invitations, small talk, and conversations with children. Allow yourself to enjoy some of the life’s simple pleasures and challenge yourself to experience the incredible depths of teaching.

Do you plan to volunteer in Africa? What are your thoughts on volunteering? Comment below and share your comments with us!…

4 Ways on How to Treat Countries with Poverty

For most women, feeding their children before themselves is thought as the strength for survival. However, it is through poor health and the lack of resources that leads those women back into poverty because they are too weak to work.

The idea of finding solutions to poverty is big and may sound somewhat impossible. This is especially true when you consider the 1 billion people living in developing countries and survive on less than $1 a day. Meanwhile, others or never one in eight people struggle to find enough food to eat.

Here are four ways on how to treat countries with poverty.

Create More Jobs

Creating jobs will reduce the rate of poverty. As unemployment is the core of poverty, paid labor may be the only chance to improve their financial well-being.

Educate the Women

A girl’s education will impact their lives and the society around them. It is through having a degree that a woman will be linked to her age of marriage, health, diseases, social standing, and economic opportunities.

Raise the Wage

As an issue is for almost every country, this is especially needed in poor developing countries. Raising the wage will have the potential to increase the health and overall well-beings for families. When women are given equal access to education and decisions, they will go against poverty. This also goes for gender equality incomes as equal pay translates into better views on reducing poverty in the future.

Improve Water Sanitation

Access to clean water is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce poverty now and in the future. For this reason, women can use the time they usually spend on fetching water and produce more production in agriculture. Not only will the production increase in size, the cost of goods and services will also go down. With that, diseases will be less likely as poorly sanitized water is one of the top causes of health problems around the world.

What are your thoughts on these solutions? Comment below and let us know!…

What You Must Know About the Droughts in Ethiopia

For decades, Ethiopia has faced the harsh realities of extreme hunger and famine. In 1984, nearly 1 million people died due to the famine and still affect the lives of Ethiopians and their government today. The recent El Nino has heightened crop failure and the livestock of thousands. As a result, this has led to the extreme hunger that once again threatens the lives of 10 million people in Ethiopia.

Last year, the consequences of the climate phenomenon led to the drought that wreaked havoc and caused farms to suffer from extensive crop failures with little chance to recover. But that’s not all.

Here’s what you must know about the droughts in Ethiopia.

Government Protects Citizens Against Hunger

Unlike other countries in the Sahara, Ethiopia has had a recorded double growth in the economy within the past ten years. The government also has a social protection plan that was created to protect those in poverty and at risk from starving.

It is through this scheme that over 6 million people in Ethiopia work five days a month during the lean season for 13 kg of cereal and 4 kg of pulses in return. But what about those who can’t work? The millions of citizens who are unable to work due to age or illness will receive a food handout or cash.

Despite the plan and commitment for funds, the Ethiopian government needs the help from the international community due to the large scale and damage of the drought.

Farms are losing their livelihoods

In most areas, people are reliant on their livestock as weak animals are dying from thirst and hunger. It is due to the drought that farmers are trying to sell their animals to raise enough money for food and supply. However, in situations as these, the price for food rises while the price of livestock falls. As a result, women and children are on the rise for severe acute malnutrition.

What are your thoughts on the drought in Ethiopia? How can we help those suffering from the drought? Comment below and tell us what you think!…

5 Reasons Why Millennials Should Volunteer in Africa

Whether you’ve just turned 18 or about to reach your 30s, chances are you’ve probably thought about volunteering abroad. With more chaos in the world today, it only helps to consider what we can to help others near and far. To help you consider whether volunteering is right for you, we’ve narrowed down the top reasons why our generation should volunteer now.

Here are 5 reasons why millennials should volunteer in Africa.

The Beautiful People

While it is fair to say that most countries in Africa had suffered their share of economic and political instability, these people have managed to strive and stay positive. While there are precautions, just like any other country, Africa as a whole is filled with beautiful people and their unique culture.

Vast Sceneries

Africa is known for its abundance in deserts and landscapes. However, there is more to see in Africa with the variety of landscapes and sceneries. From the sandy dunes of the Sahara desert to the open plains of Kendra, and the rainforests of Congo, no there is two same landscapes in Africa.

Variety of Volunteering Opportunities

Africa is known to offer a variety of volunteer options that vary from wildlife conversation to medical outreach and research. While the length of the volunteer programs, volunteers can find the ideal projects for both short and long term opportunities.

Human Challenges

While everyone sees the benefits in volunteering in Africa, there are many challenges that they can also benefit from. It is the nature of volunteering in Africa that requires the ability to quickly adapt to new surroundings and often emotional situations. However, it is through these experiences that millennials will learn how to appreciate their time and support the future of Africa.

Improves the Future of Africa

Over the year, Africa has experienced an array of ups and downs. With that, comes the need to help secure the being of Africa and build a sustainable future of the African families.

What are your thoughts on volunteering in Africa and abroad? Have you done it before? Comment below and share your thoughts with us!…