Nature Volunteers - Sri Lanka

Volunteer's Diary

--   a little diary, filled with incomparable experiences   --

Have fun with reading and taking part!


Nature Volunteer: Dani
Stay: 1st of June until the 30th of August, 2008                                                                                                               County: Germany
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Today it's the 1st of July, and it's been one month that I came to Sri Lanka and started as a NV. Now I start to get used to the constant heat and enjoy a bath in the Indian Ocean in every spare minute. I have to admitt that in the beginning, I was nervous because of the political situation in Sri Lanka. But in our area, there is no need to worry - luckily.

There's only one small problem: I turned out to be allergic on mosquitos! That's really annoying in a country like this. But with some patience, you can get along with everything. Best to all who stayed at home - see you soon.

Today it's the
28th of August and my stay in Sri Lanka is going to end soon. Only to days and I'm on my way back home. The time I've spent in Sri Lanka passed way too fast, though I'm really looking forward to seeing my parents and my friends again. I'll always keep lots of wonderful memories of Sri Lanka. There are beautiful baches, breathtaking landscapes, many temples of friendly religions and so much more.

One of the highlights of my stay was the encounter with an adult leopard during a jeep safari in the national park. But also the time in the Education Centre was amazing. I'll never forget the heartly gratefulness and the respect which the locals showed towards me. I have experienced so many positive things, I have learned from the few negative, and I leaned to treasure life. Many thanks to everybody I met here and all the best for your future.

Bohome stutiy. Thank you very much. Vielen Dank.

! To all future NV and all who are interested in this programme: If you have any questions about Sri Lanka, the work as a NV or the everyday life there - write an E-Mail to me: daniela (at) naturevolunteers.com.




  
Nature Volunteer: Kay
Stay: 10t of September until the 24th of September, 2008                                                                                                 County: Germany

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21st of September: It’s not my first time in Sri Lanka, but I’m still surprised by the stunning friendliness and openmindedness of the locals. Often they have a hard life – and still they find the time for a little chat or to show me, personally, in case I get lost, my way to the shop or the bus I'm looking for.

The Nature Volunteers’ website is reworked and so is the status report, and my time here in Aluthgama is already facing it’s end… which is not all bad, because if Lila goes on with cooking such tasty dishes three times a day for me, I’ll not fit into my airplane seat anymore!

What I recommend those who want to try being a volunteer? Just for go it – but do it in Sri Lanka! Don’t get frightened by the media or dear friends: During my time here, I never felt in danger. Actually it’s contrariwise: There’s hardly any country where I had to be less afraid of my bag’s being stolen or me being harassed by somebody. One of many reasons to come back…

If you want to get some more impressions from Sri Lanka with such friendly people as the coconut-picker on the picture (and have somebody who can translate to you from the German…), If you have any questions (in German, English or French), simply write to me at kay(at)naturevolunteers.com. See you soon!

Nature Volunteer: Lisa
Stay: 20th of October until the 29th of October, 2008                                                                                                      County: Germany
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29th of October: Sadly, my time here in Sri Lanka is almost over. I dicovered lot's and learned new things. For example the food - sometimes spicy but very intersting as you often do not know what you are eating.    

The work with the children in the orphanage was very exciting. It was intersting to learn about the Sri Lankan culture, customs and relegion.

In the mornings I took care about the little girl Anisha. I played and practiced walking with her and were laughing.

I was warmly welcome here and very thankful for the kind hospitality. I will try to come back to see some more from the country.

Nature Volunteer: James
Stay: 30th of November until the 6th of December, 2008                                                                                              County: England
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2nd of January: Despite staying at the EDC for a comparatively short period of time, I was able to really get involved, and came away with some great experiences and a genuine sense of having done something more interesting and rewarding than after some of the more 'normal' trips that I've been on. I feel like I was was also able to appreciate a little more of Sri Lankan life than you might from staying at a hotel or just travelling around the country. I also made some good friends who I hope to stay in touch with and enjoyed their company a great deal.
 
My stay at the EDC began with a tour of the teaching areas - a substantial, airy classroom, computer room, office and entrance hall, on the lower floor of the Centre. Upstairs the living areas are very comfortable - lots of light and space, and balconies encircling most of the building. My room was spotless, with a comfortable bed and - most importantly - a very effective fan! I really enjoyed relaxing on the balcony outside my room, during downtime, with a book or a drink, and good conversation with Lal, director of the EDC or Ziyard, a regular EDC volunteer (and spider expert!)
  
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with a number of EDC students during two English teaching sessions. The classes I was involved with mostly involved 15-20 year olds; standards varied a little between individuals but certainly all were extremely keen and spending time with them was therefore a real pleasure and very rewarding. A bit of advice as well - these guys like to have a good sing to get their English really flowing, so get your vocal chords in shape if you want to have a go too! 
 
I also enjoyed a trip to the beach on a mangrove planting expedition with a number of the EDC pupils. Lal was kind enough to spare an afternoon visiting a turtle conservation centre in the area as well. (Lal is involved with conservation in the area and is a good source of knowledge on the local flora and fauna; the EDC also has an important environmental education element incorporated with it's programme.)
 
A necessary part of the work undertaken at the EDC also involves ensuring it's own survival and I really enjoyed working with Lal and Ziyard on a number of operations and inititiatives aimed at raising further funding so that educative facilities can be maintained for future generations of under-resourced local children. For example, Ziyard and I visited a number of hotels in the area in order to establish links between the centre and local businesses and tourism. Hopefully, out of these expeditions some direct funding can be raised, as well as, potentially, financial inflows established through visits by tourists to the centre. I was also involved in updating some English language funding letters as well. 
 
I really did take a great deal out of staying with Lal, Ziyard and the wonderful team around him at the EDC (although sadly Andrea was away on a trip to Germany at the time, we spoke on several occasions.) I really enjoyed travelling round all the places I visited in Sri Lankan, but this is certainly the part of my trip that I will remember most fondly and I certainly feel that getting involved in some 'voluntourism' can really live up to expectations in terms of personal fulfillment, meeting wonderful people and seeing life that you don't really see when travelling or staying in a hotel.
 

Nature Volunteer:Iris                                                                                                                           Stay: 28th of March until the 25th of April, 2009                                                                                                               County: Germany
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Toady is June 5th, 2009 - one month is gone alredy since my time as nature volunteer at the EDC in Sri Lanka .                                                                                                                      Well, if I am looking back to this time I have to say it was very intersting and I am very glad that I did this adventure. I was feeling like home with Andrea and her family. All were very kind and Lila was cooking good Srilankan food (rice and currys), which I try to copy here at home, but it is not the same - as we have to coconuts on trees and curry leaf in the garden...                      There were many things in Sri Lanka which impressed me a lot and had a special meaning for me and things which are still in my mind. It was grat to meet kind, open-hearted and honest people, like the students and teachers of the EDC, the children of the orphanage and nearly all people I met on my way. All had a smile on their lips and were very helpful.                                         Many people in Sri Lanka live under poor conditions in huts with a ribbed roof. It is unbelivable how many waste is in the roads and on the riverside. But the people take their destiny with calmness (it was my impression) and were very thankful for may help. The EDC gives those people a good chance for a better future!

I felt always very save, even when I was alone on my way. Many locals talked to me and ask questions, especially when I went for 2 days to Kandy. But, their were just happy to talk or ask if I need help when I was looking like lost. 
My work with the students of the EDC was great, especially the classes with the English teacher Mangala were very funny. Someone I really like is Aneeha the small daughter from Lal and Andrea, she is a real sunshine and we had lots of fun together. She just learned to walk and keep us in action. 
Also very interesting was to visit buddhist temples and get a first view about buddhist traditions. 
There was only one negative experience during my time here. It was about the dogs on the road, which I met all the time on my way and whcih most of the locals handle with disinterest. Unfortunately these dogs depend on human help as their chance to live is less without them. Often they need medicine, food and it is good to caponise them. There are two animal welfare societies, in Kandy and  Miripenna-Talpe. I used the chance to help some days at the dog clinic in Miripenna. It was great! But there should be done more. You can find additional information about this clinic under "Vier Pfoten Dog Care e.V." (German).

Many thanks to all I've met. I hope we will see us again one day!

Nature Volunteer: Hajo
Stay: 9th of April until the 21st of April 2009                                                                                                                     County: Germany ______________________________________________________________________________________________

     

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Thank you for your hospitality it was like visiting friends although we didn't know each other at all.

Thank you for taking me all-around. Thank you for the yummy food and that I'm able now to eat with my fingers, without being laughed at. Thank you for the Sarong and for teaching me the right technique of knoting it.Thanks for offering me the chance to get to know Sri Lanka from another perspective. Thanks for open doors.

Thanks for helping me to help my friends.
The world is a richer place with your presence in it.

I'm looking forward to see you again.

Hajo sudu zija

Nature Volunteer: Kati
Stay: 4th of July until the 20th  of August 2009                                                                                                               County: Germany              ________________________________________________________________________________________________


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6 Wochen Sri Lanka

Before I start writing a summary of my stay in Sri Lanka I just want to say that all of my wonderful experiences and impressions of six weeks will never find place in this diary entry. But I'll try my best...

Because I had no idea what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by this friendly and familar atmosphere in the EDC. Right from the beginning, I felt like a part of the family and this project, which gave me a better understanding of the culture. I had the chance to influence my working time and to develop special interests in some projects on my own, which I liked a lot. So I taught English four times a week in the EDC and two to three times a week in the orphanage. I was the one who learned a lot.

After ten days, a new volunteer, Nicole, arrived and we had a great time together (working and travelling around as well). Again after four weeks, Corinna arrived and our trio was completed.

Sri Lanka is not only sunshine and palm trees, but mainly the friendly and interesting people who constitute the country. Of course, some cultural aspects are shocking at first sight, but I learned to handle that and to be honest, isn't that a reason for traveling, to explore different cultures?

Although I traveled to different tropical countries before, I was just impressed by the warm blue sea and thought that Sri Lanka really deserves the denotation "Pearl of the Indian Ocean". The landscape of Sri Lanka is a dream! Unfortunately, there are some piles of rubbish...

So if you plan to take some time off to get involved with social care, to relax a bit and to spend this time under the tropical sun – come to Sri Lanka! You can also join this project together with a friend or with your partner. Those who like shopping as much as I do: Come here with empty cases! If there are any other questions, feel free to ask me.

Last but not least I also want to thank Andrea and her family for offering me this wonderful experience!

I hope you will get the chance to get to know beautiful Sri Lanka as I did!

Nature Volunteer: Nicole
Stay: 14th of July until the 14th of August 2009                                                                                                            County: Swiss ______________________________________________________________________________________________

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Firstly, I want to thank Andrea and her family for five unforgettable weeks. With the help of Andrea, I learned a lot about Sri Lankan culture, usages and manners and I also made my own experiences.

Together with Kati, I went to the orphanage every afternoon to teach English and play with the kids. The shining eyes of the little girls and the joy they radiated gave me the feeling of being a part of Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, I spend two days in the Dog Care Station. I was shocked in the beginning, but only after a few hours I realized that paying attention to these poor dogs will be worth it! It was also an incredible experience for me.

During my stay, I also had the chance to do some trips, so I enjoyed the parade in Kandy, discovered beautiful beaches and explored different temples.

It was a wonderful and informative time which I'll never forget!

Nature Volunteer: Anna-Corinna
Stay: 4th of August until the 1st of September 2009                                                                                                    County: Germany ______________________________________________________________________________________________


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Although I left Sri Lanka some time ago, my memories of that imposing country are still present. The children of the EDC left a permamnent impression. I have never taken someone in my heart so fast as I did with my little students. In general, their open-mindedness, their attitude towards life and their ideals, which are so different from those of German children, impressed me very much. During my stay, although it was not long, I've learned a lot.

Of course, there were also some negative things, but I am lucky knowing this country now also with its shady side and not just its touristical aspects.

Being embraced by the great multi-culti family inspired me a lot. I want to thank our "host mother" Andrea for giving her best to make us volunteers feel comfortable.


Nature Volunteer: Sonja
Stay: 16th of February until the 16th of March 2010                                                                                                     County: Germany
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 10. April 2010:

Almost one month has passed since I have left Sri Lanka and I miss this country and its friendly people, although I asked myself before my start in Germany: “Why do I travel in a totally foreign country to work there, although I don’t know the culture or anyone there?” But as I put my foot Sri Lankan ground I finally knew why and I did never regret my travel. As I saw the beautiful nature I thought I was in paradise. I was welcomed very nicely by Andrea, her family and Leigh, another volunteer. During my stay of four weeks I have become a part of the family.

I liked my work as a volunteer very much. As I am becoming a teacher, I often taught at the pre schools in the mornings and in the evenings I assisted the English teacher Harschi in her class. Once a week I had my own German class, at which I had much fun with the students. I enjoyed that Andrea and Lal didn’t tell me how I have to instruct the students.
After teaching there were also other projects like mangrove reforestation or beach cleaning. Also unforgettable has been the Wednesday, when I always cleaned the turtle tanks. Of course this work is hard but if you once have such a tiny and totally cute baby turtle in your hand, you will forget about all the efforts.

First of all I enjoyed the evenings with the English teacher Harshi, because before class was starting, Harshi and I often talked about our cultures and I learned very interesting (and sometimes for a European unthinkable) things. One of the most impressing moments was when I was invited to Harshi’s family. Directly after I entered the house all the family members were surrounding me (the parents, sisters and brothers, grandparents and some uncles and aunties) and they all wanted to greet the “white guest”. While eating I had to learn that the guests eat at first and as recently as the visitor finished his meal off, the hosts will eat. Therefore I sat alone in front of four plates filled with sweet foods and the family watched me eating. I really enjoyed their hospitality and I’m still in contact with the teacher.
But not only this night was great, there were lots of beautiful experiences in Sri Lanka, so much that I can’t list them here. First of all there was this wonderful green nature, the blue but also stormy sea, the scenic beaches (most impressing, if you come from naked and snowy Germany)… Furthermore at one weekend, I visited Yala National Park and experienced whale watching. It was really unbelievable; to watch whales and dolphins how they swim in freedom. At the other weekends I visited a Perahera (a traditional procession) in Colombo, went to a waterfall for a bath or to Dambulla and Sigiriya to watch the famous cloud girls. Unfortunately there was not more time to discover further beautiful places in Sri Lanka.
I learned so much about the way of life, first of all I have become unbeatable at haggling ;) There would be so much more things to tell but I don’t want to get as excessive as in the long mails I wrote from Sri Lanka to Germany regularly ;)
After my four weeks long stay it was very difficult to leave Sri Lanka. I could go only because I knew I would come back again. I can recommend all people to become a Nature Volunteer!
Thank you Andrea, thank you Lal and Anisha for everything you have done for me. Nice greeting to the rest of the big family!

I wish you all the best for your future!



Nature Volunteer: Caro
Stay: 7th of March until the 29th of May 2010                                                                                                                  County: Germany                            __________________________________________________________________________________________   

 



 12 Weeks of adventure
Before my departure from Germany in March I was very excited – despite all the information you can gather, in the end you don’t know what will happen to you. My stay in Sri Lanka should last three months, a country so far from home that I have never seen before. But it turned out to be the paradise. The landscape is gorgeous and couldn’t be any more multifaceted. There a scenic beaches, highland and even rainforest. The family around Andrea and Lal welcomed me with open arms. Because of the closeness to the family I experienced very fast the foreign culture and daily life – beginning with the tasty meals up to the daily prayers.

My tasks absolutely satisfied my expectations. Andrea and me framed my work already before my arrival. Thus I mainly worked with the computer (actualizing of the homepage, translation of texts, working on photos), once a week I helped at the turtle hatchery in Kosgoda and also one day per week I taught German in the EDC. Furthermore I regularly helped beach cleaning.

One week after my arrival we got a new family member: André from Germany. Together with other volunteers from Kosgoda we made roundtrips each weekend to discover Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is the most beautiful county I have ever seen. Never before I have felt so welcome and in good hands. The 12 weeks passed as if time was flying.

Whoever wants to do some useful work in a wonderful country with wonderful people, whoever wants to work under palm trees, whoever wants to experience an exciting family life, no matter if for two or twelve weeks – he should not miss the chance to be a volunteer in Sri Lanka. The journey is worth it, if only for Lilas fish!




Nature Volunteer: Andre`
Stay: 10th of March until the 6st of June 2010                                                                                                                  County: Germany                            __________________________________________________________________________________________

  3 unforgettable months

It was my third visit in Sri Lanka but it was doubtless the most beautiful and exciting one. These three months were really brilliant. Of course was only possible because I was so cordially received by the whole family. Already on my first day I felt at home. The whole family supported me all the time to make my stay as comfortable as possible. Sincerely thanks to Andrea, Lal, Anisha and of course Lila who cooked all these tasty meals for us.

The work was always varied. It reached from planting mangroves, beach cleaning, cleaning of turtle tanks and turtles to the very interesting water project. Caro and I were very lucky when we had the chance to be midwives for about 70 new born turtles at our first day in the turtle hatchery. That was a really unique experience. Sri Lanka is the country of my dreams. The culture and the people impressed me very much but of course the flora and fauna, too. I learned very much and found new good friends.

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