Travel Report Manon de Bresser (2012)

"I’ve been a volunteer for a period of three weeks at the PAK orphanage in Bua, South Sulawesi during October 2012. It was truly a wonderful experience to me. I could do the thing I would like to do and I was free to do the things that matter me. Everyone is so happy that you are there and they think it is important that you have a nice time during the volunteer project. Beside me there were three other volunteers active at the orphanage. Together with them we organized many activities for the children. For example we baked pancakes with them, blowing bubbles, made pompoms and bracelets, played soccer, swimming in the pool near the waterfall and so on. Manaek and Yossie both advised us what we could do during our stay at the orphanage. The children liked it pretty much to bring us around and show us the Toraja tourist objects. Bedside the village of Bua we’ve explored the total environment.
Herewith a short summary just too give a example of the days in the orphanage:

Everybody wakes up at 05:00 AM. All the children having their own tasks in the orphanage and the first thing they’ll do every morning is doing their daily tasks. As a volunteer you’ll check if child is out of bed, doing their tasks and helping the children when needed. They’re quite independent even the youngest one with just 5 years of age. The children will dress up in their school uniforms and starting breakfast when the tasks are done. The children walking to their school when they’re all finish, this is between 06:00 and 06:30 AM. The volunteers can join the children to their schools if they want, the children like to get some company during the walk of course, especially the small ones. The volunteers have time for their own tasks when the children off to school. Tasks like: preparing the noon activities, housekeeping, cleaning, and doing the groceries, helping at the PAK kindergarten or playgroup, but also time to visit the school to teach some English at the elementary school or high school. But there is some time for yourself as well, time to relaxing or going downtown Rantepao.  I and the other volunteer choose to support the local elementary school to teach the children extra English lessons.
The children return one by one from their schools after 11:00 AM, it’s time for some playing or doing some shores in and around the orphanage. Lunchtime is about 12:30 PM, most of the time there is Indonesian rice on the menu, but it never bored me. Yossie and Manaek are both excellent cooks, their daily meals are delicious every single day. Of course they didn’t cook the meals to spicy, so we all could eat it. You get ‘sambal’ without peppers when you don’t like spicy food. Yossie and Manaek made Western delicious meals for us often, it was delightful. And I didn’t care to eat rice of Asian food each day as I liked the food so much! Beside that we got western breakfast with bread every day: American sandwiches with chocolate sprinkles and fresh homemade strawberry jam. And that was delicious as well.
The children having time to play till 02:00 PM, so they’re quite active during spare time. It’s time for siesta between 02:00 and 03:00 PM and from 03:00 till 05:00 PM it’s time for leisure or shores again.
We can use the time from 3 till 5 for our activities we want to do with the children and the children like that pretty much and we too of course! From 05:00 till 06:00 PM it’s time for study. All children must do their school homework and we helped them with it. We also teach the orphans and neighbors kids English in the orphanage during the English lessons we organized. The liked it all very much and they were pretty enthusiast.  After 06:00 PM it playtime till 07:00 PM and then it’s time for prayer. We are all sitting around the two tables, singing songs and praying together and reading from the bible. It’s a very special experience for me. After prayer it’s time for dinner and after dinner doing the last daily shores and then some free time to watch television before going to bed at 09:00 PM.

Furthermore, during the days off we made several trips in the Toraja Highlands. We went off for spectacular white rafting, we made a tour in Torajaland, went to the traditional buffalo fighting, a wedding ceremony and a unique funeral ceremony. All sightseeing tours are highly recommended. So besides volunteering we enjoyed the local culture and nature of Torajaland.

For me it was a wonderful experience which I can recommend to anyone!