Family Volunteering is a fantastic way to travel the world, provide an educational experience, and give back to the places you visit at the same time. Explore new cultures and environments, and give your kids a true hands-on understanding of the wildlife and communities you meet. GoEco can bring you on an unforgettable family volunteering experience anywhere from giant panda care in China, to sea turtle preservation in Greece and community development and orphan care in Africa. With GoEco's carefully prepared selection of reliable and affordable family volunteer opportunities, you can choose a program the whole family will enjoy. read more close
Feeding the pandas was an unforgettable experience. The pandas would rush to the entrance of the cage and lumber up to the front. My favorite panda, Susan, would hold a bar for support as she ate. They were so receptive and excited to get their special panda bread and carrots, relishing every bite.
After becoming acquainted with our panda keeper and pandas, we started our first job. It was necessary to clean the cage, removing the bamboo leaves and other garbage. After that, we started to clean their enclosures... In addition, we feed the pandas twice a day with carrot and special bread (named ”panda cake”), and sometimes apples.
Within minutes the volunteers were buzzing about. A nearby restaurant reported that a nest was hatching in the middle of their dining tables! We grabbed some supplies and headed down the beach. Up ahead we saw a lot of commotion. We joined the crowd just in time to see tiny turtles scrambling in every direction and bystanders grabbing them up and ushering them to the Sea. We got to work right away...
I am so glad that I went on this trip, and I highly recommend a volunteer trip of some sort to everyone. I also highly recommend doing it alone. Even though I had wished I had someone with me during the first few days, I’m glad I didn’t now because I got to meet so many amazing people and I got to make new friends that I probably wouldn’t have made if I had gone with a friend or family member.
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.
In the afternoon the volunteers would take the baboons down to the river and watch them play and socialize for about an hour. This also gave us time to socialize and become very close friends and family. The baboons would grab my legs and hands when they wanted me to carry them as we walked down to the river. This was my favorite part of the day.
One of my favorite aspects of my project was “baby time.” On this day, one group would be in charge of taking care of the baby monkeys. We fed them bottles, spent time in their enclosures, took the baboons to the river, prepared their night boxes, and much more. This allowed us to develop a connection with the baby monkeys, which was so unique.
Along with two workers and four other volunteers, we worked hard to build an eco-cabin constructed from a mixture of earth, sand, and hay. We enjoyed regular trips to the pool during our breaks and ate family-style meals three times daily. Here, I fully embraced Israeli culture and learned more about the Hebrew language as well as how to prepare traditional Israeli food.
That afternoon, we started our work. Girls were assigned to work with mud while my job was sifting sands for the preparation of the mud. Then I “made the mud” by mixing buckets of earth and sifted sands and straws. Honestly, it was so tiring, especially under the sun, but this was something I had never done before, which made it really fun.
The most rewarding feeling was when the kids homework was 100% correct, and they would get a sticker for writing three good characteristics, or correctly solving a math problem. Every day volunteering in Sri Lanka was a new adventure, and every night as I lay in bed wrapped tightly in a mosquito net and doused in mosquito repellent, I felt that I had made a difference; and alongside me was my friends from numerous other countries, relishing with me in the same feeling of and overwhelming joy.