Family Volunteer Vacations
I saw rhinos and cave paintings and had the chance to visit a village, where I met an 82-year-old chief that told me the tale of fighting a leopard that was eating his livestock. His stories were incredible and followed shortly by a dance performance by the children of the village. I could not write about this day with enough detail to do it justice, but believe me when I say it was one of the most memorable days of my life!
Our day started at 7am with making our own breakfast. We would meet with all the staff at 8 for the day’s work which would continue until 4 or 5. We were assigned different jobs with different staff and animals every day. We had baby monkeys which were so cute, but bratty; we took turns bottle feeding and playing with them as well as a little dyker and springbok.
Our time at turtle camp was capped off by releasing two of ‘our’ turtles into the sea to begin their journey as independent turtles! Hopefully, the love and care provided at the turtle project will ensure these turtles have a greater chance of survival in the big, wide, scary ocean. Go well, little turtle!
Orientation week was conducted in Ubud. I stayed in a homestay with cottages, family temples and yards. The yards were the playgrounds for the children, the places for making handicrafts as well as the farmhouses for the chickens and dogs. I felt like I was living on a farm! With the cocks crowing nonstop, I got up by 6 am every day! What a countryside living style!
Our organized activities were a great way to relax and have fun with everyone in the program but my favorite memories were at the school, playing with the kids at the end of each day, or handing out ice cream after lunch...I cannot wait to not only return for more volunteering in Thailand, but to explore other opportunities provided by GoEco.
Working in Thailand was one of the best experiences of my life. The children were so incredibly sweet and eager to learn. The younger children barely knew any English so we had to find ways to communicate with them through pictures and hand motions. After this experience, I really think anyone can learn to be a teacher!
The work at the panda base wasn’t very hard, but it was extremely rewarding. I feel so grateful to have had this once in a lifetime experience, getting up close and personal with the pandas, learning their different personalities, and helping with their conservation. We were also part of an amazing group of volunteers, united by a love of pandas. We all got on really well and generally just had a great time together, both on and off the panda base. I will miss those crazies all most as much as I will miss my adorable new panda friends!
I couldn’t imagine how those township kids’ childhood would be until I participated in their life. We had a totally different life with them. Finally I realized how happy and lucky I am and I’ve never felt regret to join this volunteer experience. I could deeply felt the happiness during my trip and I felt that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. I did learn a lot and also received a lot during the volunteering trip.
I sort of became the head teacher there quickly. And the kids listen to me and trust me – and I learned a little Xhosa (pronounced kosa) too. I’m such a mess right now because I love them and I feel awful leaving them. In a perfect world I would stay and make sure I saw them all graduate from high school.
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.
This first week was an introduction week which was a great way to meet new people and familiarize oneself with the surroundings that I would be living in for a month. During this week we visited the Monkey forest, had a tour around Ubud, went to some rice fields, learnt some Balinese language and cooking and went to the Holy Water temple. It was a jam packed first week but a great way to really embrace the Balinese lifestyle. We also went and watched a Balinese dance show and had a Balinese offering and painting class. All of which contributed to a great first week.
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