My Trip as an International Volunteer: Bali
I have thought about this long time ago.
Being an international volunteer once or for many times, paying a visit alone to another country and experiencing another kind of lifestyle have always been one of my dreams.
Fortunately, now I have already arrived at the airport and after today, tomorrow will be the first day of my dream. The flight is at 2:15a.m on July 19th, 2015.
About three months ago, I registered to be an IVHQ volunteer formally and the program will last for three weeks.
Actually, I have been pay close attention to the organization for ages. And I just decided to go to Bali hesitantly, which cost me a long time. My previous plan and first choice is to go Nepal. It is a country with high happiness rate and I have been longing for visiting.
There is too much preparation to do for me, as someone who goes abroad alone for the first time. After all, it is not everyone in Bali(Indonesia) can speak English or Chinese. However, things still go smoothly.
My program is teaching and the reason for me to join in this may be the affinity and rapport with children. You may feel strange and unexpected because I am a big boy form what I look like. However, nobody can resist the temptation of the direction in one’s heart.
My desire and aspiration are simple, which is to deliver and convey my happiness to those children abroad. The most beautiful thing in the world may be the smile on the rosy cheeks of children. Three weeks, such a short period of time, international volunteers are never going to change the world. The only thing we can do is to teach and tell them what we know before, to deliver our happiness. In the meantime, we can broaden our horizon and experience the life in another country.
Three weeks in the future are mysterious, which is expected by me.
Arrival and the first week
The airflow that on the coming way is very strong and the plane was shaking up and down, which sometimes lead to passengers’ shriek. Beijing was raining heavily and my first flight was delayed almost two hours. When I was catching my second flight, I was running in the Kuala Lumpur airport and finally I made it. However, I made it, but my package didn’t, which was sent to the volunteer office by AirAisa.
The first time to see Bali is on the plane and I found that its’ outline was similar to the one I saw on the map before I came here. There are blue sea and sky. Sky and water merge at the horizon. The airport stands next to the sea. Those things are beauties beyond description. The waves were like chasing our plane when landing, which caused by the airflow. We landed successfully and left the airport then were picked up by local staff.
I sat on the seat where the driver sits in China because the driver in Bali sits on the right side. I was amazed by the scenery on the way form Denpasar to Ubud. The island has everything it should have: The azure sky with clouds, comfortable temperature and fresh air that is better thousands of times than Beijing. The streets are very narrow in Bali, which always cost traffic jams and makes it crowded. However I found it later that it seems like the drivers get used to it for a long time and they don’t get annoyed. Or, the comfort and a little laziness in the slow pace island have been rooted in the Balinese people’s heart. Speaking of drivers, I have to give commitment to the cute local drivers. Though they sometimes give us kind of high price to bargain, but most of them understand how to respect people and the always wait to go until passers-by cross the street. When we saw the drivers doing this, we always smile to show our gratitude. Also, there is few traffic light in Bali.
We lived in the local homestay because we were volunteers and this way of living made us better involved in the local culture. The following week was orientation week.
We paid a visit to Monkey forest, which made me thought about the monkeys in Emei Mountain in China. And the monkeys even rode on my shoulder once. Also we learnt how to do flower offering and get immersed in the local religion. Walking in the rice field was one of my wonderful experiences too and the rice field which can stretch to the horizon under blue sky and white clouds made me feel amazing. In addition, we enjoyed a cooking class and made yummy Balinese food together. Meanwhile we went to holy temple to get wet by the holy water and made a precious wish. Finally of course we cannot miss the language classes and we learnt basic Bahasa Indonesia.
The first week passed quickly and we gradually get used to the local culture, food, weather etc. and are immersed in the lazy slow pace and comfort atmosphere. We went to Kuta during the first weekend and experience this place’s noisy from the ostentatious area. Kuta and Seminyak are famous for their bars and stores, which gives vigor to Bali. However, Kuta is also known for ”Kuta Beach”. Plus, we went to Ayung River for rafting and it lasts for two and a half hours to finish. The canoe took us four people and travel between the gorges. The water was sometimes rapid and sometimes placid. The luckiest thing is to meet a nice tour guide who always made us laugh. We even taught him to sing the simple Chinese song and he made it! On Sunday we went to Nusa Dua and Jimbaran beach to enjoy sunshine. Lying on the beach chair for the whole afternoon, facing the sea, the airport is not far away which makes you can see the plane taking off and landing and people coming and going made me feel like dreaming. It feels life’s incredible that we saw waves hit the beach, ordered one drink near the beach and lied down under the shadow of the umbrella. The sunset time was coming with dinner, which is served by seafood. Life is so good.
The second and the third week
The second and third week are teaching weeks. Actually the students are called to be back home on the first Monday because there are something wrong with the school and the arrangement. We understood later that the English class in the afternoon is optional for the students and in the meantime their teachers are always changed, which because the English teachers are formed by volunteers like us.
I worked with two another volunteers in the first week and we taught Grade Five. When we arrived at the school and took our first step into the school, we actually felt nervous subconsciously. The children’s curiosity and our nervousness are mingled together at that time. They almost follow us with our eyes as we walked into the classroom. At first, they sat silently and straightly and we introduced ourselves in English briefly. Then we started to teach some of the things we prepared before. However, though we had thought about the English level of the kids are not so high, we still felt hard to discipline and teach the class. They barely can understand what we talked about. It is kids’ nature to be free and it is hard to avoid that they were running everywhere and clamoring for games. To be honest, it is kind of a mess at the first day and we were thinking positively to change the situation.
Later we tried our best to teach them words by drawing, which made them maximize their creativity and imagination. I remember one kid who can draw very well and it is not easy at his age. Also we led them to play games and tried our best to deliver our happiness.
We went to Lembongam Island on the second weekend and we headed to the Sanur harbor in the morning of Saturday. We found a hotel that is not far away from the beach and sea. All the people are in a lazy and relaxing style during travelling. We didn’t join in any activities and programs the whole day and just stayed in the hotel to enjoy the tranquility.
I was transferred to teach Grade Six in the third week because of the changes in the number of volunteers. I found it easier and happier to teach in this week mainly might because the Grade Six kids are more mature and I feel more experienced compared with last week. Time flies, and everyone cherish every last minute we spent together.
Maybe we left little knowledge in kids’ heart but we hope them stay happy forever.
Maybe this is one of our most valuable experiences in life, but for them, we were just passing volunteers and we hope them have more chances to visit the world.
Also we hope them keep their smiling faces, which is gifts from god.
I hope this passage can commemorate my IVHQ international volunteer experience.