Volunteer In Zimbabwe

Lake Union Crew Outreach Foundation is pleased to announce Zimbabwe as the location of our 2015 international service project.

Chidamoyo Christian Hospital has operated in northwest Zimbabwe for over 30 years and is the only hospital to serve this rural community, with a radius of about 75 miles.

After visiting the site, it is truly incredible to see what they are able to accomplish with a dedicated staff and minimal resources. In a typical month they serve 3,000 patients, deliver 150 babies, and conduct 115 surgical procedures. Chidamoyo has 5,000 people on anti-retroviral meds to treat AIDS. Over time they have decreased the number of pregnant moms infected with HIV from a high of 22% in 2000 to 2.5% in 2014, and brought down the transmission rate from mother to child rate from a high of 49% in 2000 to 2% in 2014.


It is pretty cool to see regular people doing BIG things. I love the community that these trips create back home. It is very special. :)
- LUCOF volunteer

The 4,000 square foot building we will construct at Chidamoyo Hospital will allow hundreds of women who are about to give birth - and have walked for days to get there - a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep on while they wait, plus a place to prepare postpartum for their journey back home.

For 6 weeks we will work side by side with local volunteers to make this dream a reality. At the end of the project you will not only have built a fantastic resource for this rural community, you will also have built new and wonderful friendships.

We are excited to work with the leadership of the hospital to fulfill this long-standing need. Not only are Kathy McCarty and Major Mereke (Chidamoyo's leaders) fiercely dedicated, they both have the joyful spirit of people who know they were born to serve.

We welcome Lake Union Crew members, family, and friends to volunteer with us for 1 or more weeks to experience our ‘Teamwork is Everything’ spirit abroad. Participation in these projects has been a life-changing experience for all involved. Working in Zimbabwe, with the warm, friendly, English-speaking locals, promises to be as inspiring as any previous project. Please come join us to work your heart out over many long days and leave feeling like you were the one given to.

Information Slideshow

Learn more about our project in this short presentation.

Our Partner in Zimbabwe

We are partnering with the leaderhip of Chidamoyo Christian Hospital - Kathy McCarty and Major Mereke. Kathy traveled from California nearly 35 years ago to reopen Chidamoyo Hospital after Zimbabwe's war for independence. Major was born and raised in Chidamoyo. Together they have dedicated their hearts and spirits to serve thousands of poeple in northwest Zimbabwe.  Learn more about Kathy and Major at the Chidamoyo blog. and read about how they have tackled tough times in this New York Times article from 2010.

Learn more about Chidamoyo

These YouTube videos and the blog share insights from other volunteer groups.

Faces of Chidamoyo


Chidamoyo Christian Hospital

Chidamoyo Christian Hospital

Blog by University of Washington physical therapy students who visited in December, 2014. Also contains safari info.

Work Description

Our volunteers work hard, there is no doubt.  But with hard work comes the exhiliration and reward of progress, partnership, accomplishment, and tired legs!

You arrive in Harare on a Wednesday (see the Scheduling Your Flight section for specifics) and travel by private vehicle with us to Chidamoyo, which is 300 km northwest of Harare. The volunteer work week runs Thursday - Tuesday. Volunteers arise for a 5:30am breakfast, begin working at 6am, have 1.5 hours off during the day, and work until 5pm or later depending on the day’s tasks. These requirements apply to all volunteers of all ages. Sunday is the holy day of the week in Zimbabwe and the day the local volunteers will not be with us. Depending on the project progress, it may be a partial work day for our volunteers. Departing volunteers are returned to Harare each Wednesday.

Construction skills are helpful but not necessary. Volunteers must be able to perform demanding physical labor 9+ hours per day, such as: haul concrete block (25 lbs); shovel dirt; push wheelbarrows of concrete (50 lbs); shovel dirt; dig post holes; and shovel dirt. Really.

Volunteer Rules and Requirements

There are a few common sense rules we enforce. At the job site and within the community of Chidamoyo, there is no smoking, drinking or use of non-prescription drugs. Beyond that we ask for common courtesy. Some thoughts:

  • Proper decorum is expected as you are representing LUCOF, your fellow volunteers, and the United States. While it might seem odd to think you're representing your country, our partners have definite impressions of Americans. We want to leave them with just as good or even better ones.
  • You will work with a variety of people and personalities. Your good humored patience, maturity and flexibility will help you have the best experience.
  • You're tired after your day's work, but remember that the other volunteers are too. The project is too short to get annoyed at little things.
  • The successful and happy volunteer is fit, mature (silly is good), cooperative, patient, follows directions, can lead when needed, and LIKES TO WORK.
  • The Zimbabwe 2015 project is at an altitude of about 2,500 ft.  That said, you don't have to be an Olympian (even though we've had two Olympians volunteer on past projects :), you just need to be prepared for and capable of physical labor, all day.


The registration fee covers round-trip transportation from the Harare airport to the Chidamoyo job site, lodging, food, and bottled water. Volunteers are welcome to participate for as many weeks as there are spaces available. One of the most common comments we hear from departing volunteers is that they wish they were staying a 2nd week. Consider it!

  • $360 for first week
  • $225 for each additional contiguous week. Should you leave and return, requiring additional transportation, the fee is again $360.


Registration is now full for Zimbabwe 2015.

You are welcome to register if you would like to be added to the waitlist. Note: You must submit your credit card information to complete the registration form, however your card will not be charged. If a spot opens, you will be notified to confirm your interest before finalizing your registration and charging your card.

Waitlist Registration


After receiving a confirmation email, volunteers submit an online waiver, similar to the example below.

Volunteer Spaces Available

Work Week Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6
Arrival Date Dec 16 Dec 23 Dec 30 Jan 7 Jan 14 Jan 21
Cook* 0 0 0 0 0 0
Skilled in Construction** 0 0 0 0 0 0
Unskilled Volunteer 0 0 0 0 0 0

*If you like to cook for up to 12 hungry and appreciative volunteers, this invaluable volunteer position is for you.
** Contact us to confirm that you qualify as a volunteer skilled in construction.


The volunteer housing is located about 700 meters from the construction site. We are staying in volunteer quarters on the Chidamoyo campus and will have a building to ourselves, complete with a kitchen. We will sleep 3 to a room, and each room has a sink, flushing western toilet, and shower. Beds, blankets and a pillow are provided; you will provide your sheets and a towel The rooms are spartan and clean. Electricity is sporadically available, often just at night. Cell phone reception is not available, and internet is available to send an "I've arrived" message. Laundry service is available for a nominal charge.

Scheduling Your Flight

Volunteers make their own flight arrangements to Harare. The travel time to Harare is long and the time change between Seattle and Zimbabwe is 10 hours. Schedule your flights accordingly so you feel rested and ready to work when you arrive in Harare.

LUCOF provides round trip transportation from the Harare airport to the project. Volunteers are expected to meet at the Harare airport on Wednesday no later than the 5:10 pm arrival of the Emirates flight, and are returned to the Harare airport on Wednesday morning, in time for that week's earliest volunteer departure.


A visa is required to enter Zimbabwe, and can be purchased in the Harare airport for $30 US dollars. Have the right change as change is not provided.

Health Information

Immunizations: Check with your doctor or a travel medicine clinic to ensure you are properly immunized. Some immunizations are a multi-shot treatment delivered over several weeks or months, so check into this early.

Medications: Malaria exists where we will be working in Zimbabwe. Check with your travel doctor for details. We do recommend you bring something like Ciproflaxin, which is used to treat bacterial infections.

Food: Sorry, we cannot accommodate special diets.

Health Insurance: Prior to departing, check your health insurance coverage while out of the country. Different plans can have different or no coverages, so be smart and safe and make sure you know your coverage before you go.

Volunteer Pick Up in Harare

The Harare airport is very small. We'll meet you just outside the baggage claim area. More details coming soon.

Extend Your Trip

As highlighted in the 52 Places to go in 2015 New York Times on Sunday, January 11, 2015, Zimbabwe is a excellent vacation destination. (see #14 in the article).

More information about options from the project is coming soon.


Coming soon.