What about Food Safety while volunteering?
Part of the fun and excitement of travelling abroad to far away lands is the chance to experience the flavors, smells and textures of foods that you have never been able, or daring enough, to try before. With exotic foods and beverages to sample and savoir your volunteering abroad placement is almost guaranteed to be as much a culinary expedition as it is a philanthropic one. From bustling street vendors touting their kerbside gourmet, to the beach-front thatched-roof cabanas serving ice cold cervesa and bowls of something that looks like it came from the ocean...you will be in foodie heaven, wherever that may be for you...
Sounds great right? The problem is, with this comes the increased risk, or more accurately the guaranteed exposure to every travelers closest companion - E.Coli. The stomach bug, the runs, the squirts, Montezuma's Revenge, whatever you call it, if you are going to be promiscuous with your food, your flirting with a bout of "OMG wheres the bathroom!". The inevitability of contracting E.Coli, to one degree or another, whilst you are volunteering abroad, especially for longer periods, means you are best to simply accept it and learn to either a) avoid it by not eating, but wheres the fun in that?, or b) preparing yourself mentally, and to some extent physically, to dealing with it when, not if, it arrives - which is hopefully not during a 6 hour cross-country bus ride!
Fortunately there are some practical steps every traveler can take to firstly minimize the risk of contracting a food-borne nasty. The following article provides an excellent reference to all things food safety and, importantly, how to avoid getting sick whilst travelling.
For many a traveler, the biggest risk of contracting E.Coli, and a range of other not-so-nice intestinal 'bugs', comes from drinking contaminated water. And when you are almost guaranteed to be volunteering in a country where drinking the tap water is, ah-hem...'not advisable', the only real solution is to only drink store-bought bottled water. Here is a great article about the do's and dont's of hydration whilst volunteering abroad.
What happens when, not if, you get sick during your volunteering placement? Read on to find out how to deal with being 'struck down' during your time abroad with Love Volunteers.