Sandra about her volunteering at the turtle conservation center
Now, that I am finally at home I am still daydreaming back to my stay in Bali, as I have left quite some friends behind and a great time.
After having arrived in Denpasar, I was welcomed by a warm breeze of 28 degrees, which was really releaving as the temperature on my departure day was about minus 5 degrees. I was really tired when I arrived in Serangan, the small village where my project and my accommodation were located. There were small supermarkets everywhere and a market, where you can buy vegetables, fruits and rice dishes. I was also lucky to have an internet café just opposite my homestay.
I was welcomed by Laura and so happy to have finally arrived: “I am in Bali”.
I have participated in the Turtle Project in Bali and supported the staff in cleaning the fresh water pools and inform tourists about the turtle’s behavior. My daily routine was a following: I went to the market in the morning to get some breakfast, before my work started. I bought fruits, I have never heard of before. Shortly before 8 o’clock a went to the turtle station, which was only a 2 minutes walking distance. I helped to clean the fresh water pools (there are about 16 pools, which took about 1,5 hours to be cleaned). Sometimes, some tourist groups and school classes planned to visit the station, and I helped to inform about the station. We communicated in English, which was quite a good practice for me. My colleagues also taught me some words in Bahasa Indonesia, which was great fun.
The station was founded to protect and conserve the turtles, as many turtles have been killed for religious and commercial purposes.
I was really impressed by the open-minded and kind people in Serangan, who made me feel like home straight away. I learned a lot about the culture and the locals. I was really curious and invited to the homes of the staff. I have also watched in ceremonies and was borrowed a “kamen” (it is compulsory to wear them in the temples). I was really surprised, how natural the kids where walking within the temples, the men were smoking and chatting. Once in a while somebody was kneeing in front of the temples, clasping their hands holding an incense stick in it and started praying. After they had entered the temple they first brought some offerings too (it is called “canang” and a small square made of coconut leaves, decorated with flowers, sweets or any other things people like). After the praying procedure they used to put a flower behind their ears.
Every Balinese house has a small temple in front and inside of the house, which is decorated with offerings every day. I had a lot of spare time to explore the island and the picturesque temples of Tanah Lot or Uluwatu. I visited the beach and read a book or just enjoyed watching the local surfers. Sometimes I just stayed at the turtle station to chat with my colleagues.
It was an immersion in another world and I want to say thanks to those people I have met and who took care with me. I really appreciate that they gave me the chance to see the real life of Bali.