Volunteering in Indonesia was more than a simple experience, it was an opportunity I had to challenge myself as I have never done before. I have met some of the most interesting and passionate people on the planet and shared with them my life, my interests, my pictures and my dreams. Together we had the unique opportunity to discover the country, its people and its amazing environment from the privileged viewpoint of a volunteer.
Before starting the Education and Community Work in Bali project, I experienced the Cultural Immersion Week, a week dedicated to getting to know Balinese culture. We stayed in Penestanan Kaja, a small and nice village near the Ubud city center. There, we had the chance to meet the locals and got to know them first hand, live in their house, talk about their culture and listen to their stories. During the various activities proposed we learned basic Bahasa language, we cooked, we painted and traveled around.
Visiting the Holy Water Temple was such an amazing moment that it is difficult to describe properly. The place is so full of spirituality, calm and open to people from other religions which seemed almost unbelievable to us. Also, at the Rice terrace we had an astounding view and time. During the weekend we went to hike a volcano (Mont Batur, 1717m); it is really tough but I deeply suggest it if you want to challenge yourself and see the sunrise from this wonderful spot.
The start of the second week was a bit harder. A lot of people I met were leaving to volunteer somewhere else or going back home. I was supposed to attend the teaching program but I ended up renovating the school because of a celebration taking place during those weeks. If you have ever imagine a “third-world-school”, delete that picture from your mind. It could be worst or maybe better, but if there is something I learned volunteering in Bali it is the fact that everything can get better with a good work team! And this is what we have done.The first day we were really tired and – I have to admit – when I went back home I was really sad and disappointed. Was I making a difference? But then, day after day, tables were cleaner, walls were painted, chairs repaired and blackboards cleaned. At the end of my experience I would have stayed there for ever!