5 Fantastic Things I Experienced While Volunteering in Sri Lanka

5 Fantastic Things I Experienced While Volunteering in Sri Lanka

Volunteering here in Sri Lanka has been so wonderful. Every experience can be different from the next. You will work with different volunteers from week to week and your weekend trips are open to anything you feel like doing. It’s a great mix between travel and volunteering. Everyone’s trip ends up being a bit different from one another, but I can guarantee you will find five fantastic things once you arrive here:

1. Total immersion into the local culture. The project is fairly isolated in a small rural village near Wasgamua National Park. It’s about a five and a half hour bus ride from Kandy and about forty five minutes from the nearest town, Hettipola. It may seem intimidating to be so far removed, but it’s honestly one of the best parts of this experience. You get to experience Sri Lanka in a way most visitors never do. By day, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Knuckles Mountain range, throughout the day you’ll be greeted by children as you drive through the village, and by night you’ll have an unbelievable view of the stars

2. A field house that provides simple needs for living. There is intermittent electricity, open walls, cold showers and occasional wifi. It’s a great community style living situation that’s comfortable. Yes, it will be different than what you are used to, but it’s a great opportunity to simplify. There is a cook who prepares all of the meals in a traditional cuisine everyday (who just might listen to a request for one of your favorites). There are even two cats and a dog that come to visit quite regularly.

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3. An amazing staff and volunteers. You really could not ask for better people to work with. They’re knowledgable, kind and have a great sense of humor. Since everyone stays at the field house together, you’ll form great relationships with everyone. Volunteers always spend week nights hanging out and you’ll probably end up going on some weekend adventures together too.

4. Surprisingly easy transportation. Traveling around Sri Lanka is really easy to maneuver although it can be somewhat time demanding. There are plenty of buses, trains (which are the best because of the beautiful views) and tuk tuks that will get you to your destination. Even if you don’t know exactly what you are doing locals are very helpful and will get you where you want to go. There are plenty of things to do and the transit is a great way to see local life.

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5. Truly wild elephants. This means that some days you may see a large herd and some days you may not see any. They live freely throughout the island so we return to certain locations to observe them each day. Some may come a nice distance from the truck, but you won’t get too close to any of them. They are often afraid of humans in result of the human elephant conflict that is so strong here. Bring a pair of binoculars and enjoy being able to see these animals live freely.

I can hardly believe that I depart from Sri Lanka in only a few days. I don’t feel ready yet but I suppose all good things must come to an end.


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