A perfect program for those seeking to immerse themselves in a foreign culture while being surrounded of diverse kind of activities and environments. Bali is probably the number 1 spot for travelers visiting South East Asia and more often than not the preferred one, and there's a reason for that; the island holds multiple scenarios ranging from volcanoes, jungle to beautiful beaches -and it is big enough to get escape the touristic culture whenever you feel like to. The program itself is located in the "highlands" of Bali, in Ubud -the cultural capital of the island; volunteers can expect a green environment, local culture and lots of temples! the center, while touristic, is one of the few places that remains touristic and it is not the place where the program is hold. Concentrating efforts in helping those that haven't really benefit from external capital, the local agency distributes volunteers to relatively near places to Ubud (normally within 45min) and transport is provided. In construction specifically, volunteers meet at the general office -refer to the booklet- and then head to work from 1-5pm; you can expect hard team work and some breaks during the journey (beverages are provided). If the team exceeds 15 people it is most likely for the agency to distribute volunteers in two different projects to increase productivity, be aware of this and try to help where they need you the most. Both our teams were lucky as we were able to contribute in the end-process of 2 kindergartens, providing small communities a space that they did not have before -this was really rewarding for us.
Housing? fear not! the community in which the program is held is known as "Penestanang" and is just 5min away from Ubud, it is more authentic and provided with all the services you will need. Volunteers are distributed in around 5 or more Houses that lay close to each other, normally two floors high and separating men from women -yeah you can still gather, it's cool! Houses are safe and the cleaning staff shows up every day during the morning, be polite to them as they often don't speak English very well. Here, your main preoccupation should be how to get the bed with the best lightning and the best breeze, if not, make sure to get yourself a fan -there are plenty at the house. Be organized and make sure not to loose your stuff; with so many people coming and going the house feels up with old memories and it becomes easy to loose things and think that someone "stole" it from you -remember Bali practices Hinduism and stealing is bad karma.
In terms of activities there's a clear routine that volunteers in Penestenang follow and it goes like this; Mondays, Wednesdays is movie night -starts at 8pm and ends at 10pm at Kopi Desa, a place run by Made a genuine Local and where people often meet whenever they have free time -try the Nasi Goreng Ayam, a local dish! For boys, these are the days and time where Football will most likely find place, talk to Jeffrey! he is one of the organizers and makes sure to rent the football place -located just 8min away from the Cafeteria. Tuesdays and Thursdays is both Cupid and CP Launge night, Cupid an open bar-restaurant was built upon a river and it's the starting point of the night -head there around 8.30 pm, most of the volunteers will do so; expect live music and a great service provided by the local-owner Leo, a great guy that often performs live as well. Later on, and as Cupid prepares to close, volunteers head to Ubud center, to CP Launge. As one of the few places that offer night scene in Ubud, CP Launge is the perfect place to grab some drinks, play pool and dance to world-wide rhythms -bare in mind that Thursdays is a bit more busy than Tuesdays and that volunteers may often go only during this days but other travelers, expats etc will be there. Organize your mornings or afternoons as there is a lot to do next to Ubud, feel free to visit one of the many infinity pools, UNESCO rice terraces or waterfalls; use your weekends to travel to more remote places, go to a volcano, visit the beach, spent the night in a world class club -you pick the program.