Volunteer diary from Bali

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dominikap
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Volunteer diary from Bali

I am at the end of my four months volunteering in Bali, full of impressions and experiences which are not yet in order. Instead of writing about the mixture of thoughts I have decided to share some notes from my diary with you. My name is Dominika, from Slovakia and I was volunteering in IHF (Buitan, near Candidasa) http://www.ihfonline.org/.

4 months ago – Several days ago, I arrived to the center. Everything is different. I see animals everywhere - outside, inside. Spiders in my room, crab in the kitchen sink, frogs and gecko in the bathroom. Thanks to the humidity and everyday temperature above 30°C I am non-stop sweating feeling smelly and very unattractive. Nobody cares, I know, but it takes time to get used to it.
On Monday, I met with children coming to the classes for the first time. It is hard to believe that these cute faces can make such a big noise. Children were asking me on my name, presenting their names, but honestly I remembered hardly three at the end of the day. Also, I was present at some classes to see how they look like. Teaching itself didn´t seem to be difficult. I am more afraid if children will accept me and listen to me while pretending that I am a teacher.

3 months ago –During the first month in the center, I tried to do my best to adjust to the whole system and find myself in the position of teacher. I have my three stable classes – SD3 (these children cannot sustain in the sitting position longer than 15 minutes, nevertheless they are very nice and some of them I found very smart and interested in learning), Juniors (teenagers who make me disappointed as I cannot find any way how to attract them, everything is boring and non-interesting to them) and Seniors (these “children”, some of them over 18 years old, are the best listeners, hungry for new information, however their speaking skills need to be improved).
Apart from classes, I spent a lot of time on special projects related to garbage and thanks to it I got a nick name “garbage girl” which makes me really proud of it. We cleaned the awfully dirty beach in front of our center and after we, together with the local community, used all the collected rubbish to build special benches under the worldwide project Peace on Earth Bench Movement.

2 months ago – None of the days in the center are similar and every time something unexpected appears. Although I really like time in the center, after the first real trip to the neighboring island Nusa Penida I realized that I cannot do work here properly without understanding Balinese lifestyle and mentality. Beautiful nature and people who are not shy to ask you what´s your name, where are you from, where are you going, if you have husband or children. Everywhere you meet friendly and helpful people who are open to talk anytime. After Nusa Penida I went for other trips and always I came to the center refreshed, filled with new ideas and energy to continue in work.
In Bali, I celebrated my 25th birthday with all the volunteers and children who made it special. Maybe because of the magic of the birthday, my relations both with children and also with volunteers deepened and I now I feel more relaxed while working in this friendly atmosphere.

1 month ago – All the long-term volunteers staying in the center from my beginning were leaving, even the directors were going for 2-week holidays and I (as the “senior” volunteer) was asked to welcome all the new coming volunteers and supplement directors in a few of their tasks. I was happy for this challenging opportunity as I could implement several of my ideas during this time. Instead of counting days until the end of my stay I spent a busy month with loads of work done. Luckily, the great volunteers came and all the tasks changed in fun.

I spent several months out of home many times, sometimes it is easier, sometimes I was counting days until the end. In Bali center, it took me time to feel comfortable because of a lot of differences to my previous life. But once I gained this feeling I didn´t lose it and leaving will be difficult. I´ve just remembered the sentence from the IHF promo materials talking about IHF family which sounded to me ridiculous. I am not melancholic, but now after the volunteering I got meaning of it.