Volunteer in Asia
A truly memorable experience was refereeing two days of soccer. The monks truly love the sport and had a 2 day schoolhouse tournament, which I was requested to referee. The youngest monks were the spectators and cheerleaders, beating plastic bottles and plastic drums, cheering their houses on.They played on a small pitch dug out of the side of (literally) a mountain, the ground was dirt and the goals made out of metal poles. In two hours of soccer, I think I only had to give a single foul, which to me exemplifies the spirit of comradeship and gregarious nature of these incredible people.
In addition to the teaching, I got to work at an orphanage in Kathmandu. I cannot explain the affect of those astoundingly beautiful children. Just to hold a child in need of a hug. To feel a hand slip so readily into yours simply to feel love and affection freely given. To feel special to someone. It bursts your heart. Their delight in each other and what little they have is truly inspiring and I will never forget them.
Apart from the daily routine and some other work that we did, there was always enough time to go snorkeling. There were different snorkeling grounds close by (and once a week we went on an excursion a bit further away) and I discovered something new every time. Another part of the experience was living on a local Maldivian island – which seemed worlds away from the resort islands.
Volunteering in the Maldives... was everything I could have ever imagined, but the biggest surprise to me was how much I gained from the program. Working with the turtles in itself was incredible. To watch them grow, get to know their personalities and then release them back into the ocean. To know that you have had a positive impact on saving such a beautiful creature from extinction, it is very rewarding. It’s not an experience that comes around often and I’ll hold it close to me for the rest of my life
The second week I moved down south to a new house and to work with the turtles. This was an amazing experience, it was very hands-on and I got to spend as much time with the turtles as I wanted. We cleaned them, fed them and generally worked with them on the beach trying to get them back to full health. They are such amazing animals and the work they do at at this project is fantastic. All the volunteers really care for each individual turtle and no one is afraid about getting dirty and being involved.
Friday’s are a bit different because that’s test day, the children LOVE this though, as they get to see what they’ve learnt through the week and after an hour or so of tests are free to play. One Friday it was so hot we all ran through a fence at the back of the school and jumped in to a huge pond to cool off. All the kids who could swim were jumping in with us and the ones who couldn’t we were hugging and splashing.
Teaching women through the Women’s Empowerment program, I was able to deeply connect with the Nepali women I worked with, even considering the huge language barrier between us. It was a joy and honor to teach them. I We spent the lessons laughing and actively interacting with each other, ensuring that they were learning as much as possible. It was very hard to leave them after three weeks. In such a short time, they embraced me into their world.
My favourite part was definitely interacting with the amazing, young monks. The children were incredibly sweet and funny and they always put a smile on my face. At the same time, though, they were dedicated and focused during our lessons. Our classes were the perfect combination of smiles, laughter and learning.
Volunteering at the dog care clinic has been an unforgettable experience and I absolutely recommend the program to anyone considering it. You don’t any special qualifications, experience or veterinary knowledge. Just bring along a love for animals and a desire to lend a paw. I’m sure your time here will be meaningful and you’ll fall in love with the people and animals there just as I did.
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