Why did you decide to volunteer with Jakera Adventure in Venezuela?
Aleida: We (me and my friend) decide to go to Venezuela because we liked the description of the program in Venezuela that we read in a brochure from a Dutch travelling organization. It told us it would be adventures and that we would do volunteer work at the same time. That’s mainly what attracted us to choose it.
Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Aleida: Once at Jakera we found out that the program was a little different from what we thought it would be. Jakera does offer the opportunity to volunteer but only in the their 3 months or 6 months program. We choose the 2 months program which unfortunately didn’t contain any volunteer work. At first we we’re a little disappointed but we got over it quite soon.
So our day to day activities where mainly adventures activities. The program was split up in weeks. Weeks of staying in base camp. And weeks of going abroad in the country. The first 2 weeks we stayed in base camp where we mostly started the day with a hike up the mountain close to base camp. After that we had breakfast and we we’re left with some free time. Mostly in the mornings but sometimes in the afternoons as well we received Spanish lessons from a local Spanish teacher that was hired by Jakera. Some days we also trained for the trips we made. Like training to kayak and to climb and abseil. We had to buy lunch our selves but dinner was made for us. We regularly had kitchen duty. We either had to cook or do the dishes. And sometimes there was time for a party or a merengue class or any other fun activities.
The trips were all little different. There were days of all day long kayaking on our trip to Orinoco Delta. Or just part of the day and than have Spanish lesson from one of the teachers that went with us on the trip. On other trips we went hiking or sightseeing. We mainly got up early and had a day full of activities and went to bed early as well.Also during the trip we had kitchen duty just like in base camp. On some trips we slept in hammocks and on others we just slept in tents.
So to make a short list of the activities we did I’ll sum them up:
- Kayaking on the Orinoco Delta
- Going to Caripe to hike and do some sightseeing and climbing
- Going to La Gran Sabana to hike up the mountain Roraima
These are the big trips. We also did some little once but you’ll find out once you choose to do the program.
What made this volunteer experience unique and special?
Aleida: It think what made it special were several things together. First off, Venezuela is a beautiful country. Loads of beautiful nature to see and nice people who live there. Our group was amazing as well. We all had a click somehow so we’ve had loads of fun during our stay. I think that helps a lot. But also the guides are important during the trip. They know so much about the country and are willing to tell you all about it. We’ve had 2 different guides during the trips because the guide that the owner wanted to guide us couldn’t always come with us cause there was another group to. Both guides were good though. So it didn’t really bother me.
How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?
Aleida: I can say that I’ve learned the cross my boundaries during this trip. Some days weren’t always as easy. You need to be a little bit physical. I’m not saying that you won’t make it if you’re not but it would help. I also learned how to survive back to basic. We learned how to tie knots, make fire and prep your own dinner.