Give a gift of your time during study vacation!
“Twin” Australian sisters Alanie & Karen Joseph volunteered at FNPF Nusa Penida recently during a break from university studies – we caught up with them on the island and here is what they had to say about their experience.
Are you really twins?
Karen: Haha no, but for some reason everyone here in Indonesia -from customs officers to waitresses to the workers at FNPF- seem to think that we are!
How did you find FNPF?
Alanie: I wanted to volunteer somewhere in Asia during the university summer holidays. I just googled ‘volunteering in Bali’ and read about it on Trip Advisor. It sounded nice and was much cheaper than other volunteer program’s in Bali so I decided to go there.
Karen: I found FNPF through my sister Alanie, she was here 6 months ago and loved it so much. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. It was really a great excuse for an awesome volunteer experience in a cheap destination.
How long did you stay?
Alanie: I stayed for three weeks in January-February 2014 – and another three weeks in July 2014 (joined by her sister, Karen – during “Uni holidays to escape the winter”).
What value to your university studies has your volunteer experience given?
Karen: Volunteering at FNPF provides you with many experiences that give you a real direction whether it be reinforcing what you want to do or opening your mind to a new path. I have a passion for learning languages and learning about people, this is a unique culture that strongly contrasts the city life and seeing how spirituality is intertwined in their daily life is extremely interesting.
Alanie: My degrees are not really relevant; however, many volunteers study degrees such as marine science or environmental studies and actually go to Nusa Penida as part of their degree.
Favourite volunteer activities?
Alanie: Teaching English to the local children. My sister and I started teaching English to a group of local children every afternoon, which was always the highlight of my day. What started off as just a bit of fun turned into a daily two hour lesson full of different activities and games.
Karen: My favourite volunteering was the spontaneous English Class we held daily. The class grew after the two weeks we taught and a group of 14 boys and one girl ranging from 6-14 would consistently come to the foundation for class. Because FNPF has had so many donations ranging from books to stickers to musical equipment it wasn’t too challenging to keep them entertained.
Other highlights of your time on the island?
Alanie: Visiting all of the places on Nusa Penida! There are so many beautiful places on Nusa Penida and because there are hardly any tourists on the island yet, everywhere is so peaceful. Every time I go to my favourite beach, Atuh Pantai, my friends and I are always the only ones there!
Karen: The workers at FNPF really encourage volunteers to see the many beautiful unspoilt spots on the island during our free time. One of my favourite days was visiting Atuh beach. As usually the weather was beautiful and sunny and the water crystal blue. There was no one else on the beach except for us, the beautiful seclusion you find so eminent in the island. Another highlight was when Nengah and Agus (foundation helpers) took us to the temple for the full moon ceremony. The intricacy and beauty in the religion that you seem eminent in all aspects of life and in the island is even more prominent and wonderful to experience first-hand. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about a religion that would not be practiced in such a fashion here in Australia.
Will you recommend volunteering with FNPF Nusa Penida to your friends and fellow uni students?
Alanie: Definitely!! I have already told my friends to come visit with me when I go back next year!
Karen: I would recommend volunteering with FNPF to anyone who had a passion to help the island conserve its beauty, experience a unique and peaceful culture or explore a beautiful island. It truly gives you a new perspective on the world. Living in a relaxing, kind, welcoming culture for even just one month compared to my daily routine in the city makes you appreciate the simple way of life they lead. Anyone that visits this island and knows the beauty of the people and the place will undoubtedly return. I will definitely be back! (Last email from Karen: Oh I miss Penida, excited to go back and see the kids, already planning lessons …)