Volunteering in Sri Lanka for 4 weeks teaching English and conserving sea turtles - a once in a lifetime experience.
I went to Sri Lanka in January 2019 to volunteer on the sea turtle program. I have volunteered in the past in an orphanage so wanted to try working with animals this time. Plus baby sea turtles are so cute. I also talked to The Mighty Roar before hand to ask if i could also get involved with the teaching side of it too whilst there. They were more than happy to agree to this which was great. Volunteering with the turtles was the main reason for going but being able to also teach the Sri Lankan children English whilst there was awesome. I had a huge sense of fulfillment from both projects in completely different ways.
I booked up with The Mighty Roar as I wanted to travel to Asia and was undecided for a while which project, but where The Mighty Roar had so many options, it was easy for me to come to a right decision from all the information available. There is still always a fear of the unknown when booking any of these volunteer programs but The Mighty Roar always answered any questions I needed to know.
"Overall this experience was greater than I ever first imagined. It made me a more confident and independent person. It showed me things I never thought possible and opened up my eyes to wonderful opportunities"
I paid slightly extra for my flight and went direct just to make my life easier. I travelled alone but I felt comfortable knowing I would be picked up at the other end. It was easy to find my transfer man, little did i know when I first met the man holding the sign for me that he would end up being one of the most rememberable Sri Lankans of my 4-week trip. Mamoo is a legend. He taught me a lot, made me feel safe and made me laugh. Him as well as Charith and his family we're very friendly and very welcoming making my stay very comfortable.
The first couple of days there was slightly overwhelming with the slight jet lag, trying to remember everyones names and adapting to the heat, but by day 3 I was in my element. I made friends quickly especially with my room mate. She was working with the children only but we still spent a lot of time together. Me and other volunteers working with the turtles would do most things in the morning . We would check the hatchery every morning to see if any had hatched. If so they would be counted, checked, weighed, measured and be released that morning. We would then all go off to clean the beach of litter and do any other turtle related jobs. We would also do a beach patrol in the evening looking for eggs. This would leave the afternoon free to teach.
It wasn't a ridiculously hectic day so most days we had time to visit the beach and watch almost every sunset before dinner. Releasing the baby turtles into the sea was very special and never became a dull moment. There was something very beautiful about seeing new life venture out into the unknown. Knowing also that I was a huge part of these baby turtles beginning gave me a huge sense of purpose.
I wasn't sure what to expect when teaching the children as I hadn't done anything like this before, but wow! I surprised myself with how much i enjoyed it. I didn't think I would even have the confidence to stand in front of 15/20 almost teenage children teaching them English when I'm not even an expert on English myself. I decided to face this challenge head on and was a huge sense of achievement for me. It made my 4-weeks trip even more better than I thought it could ever be. I loved those kids and miss them greatly. I would love to go back to see them and i was very emotional when it ended.
There was at least 10 other volunteers there whilst I was there. Because I was there for 4-weeks a lot of them left half way through my trip but others came. There was 3 other volunteers that I got particularly close with that made the experience even better. 3 completely different people that probably normally wouldn't go together but I'm still in contact with now and made great friends with.
The accommodation was nice, the bed was comfy and I slept well most nights. It was cool to eat all meals outside and the food itself was fantastic. The location of the house was in a great place as it was out the way of the tourist areas so it was quiet and the beach was nice and empty. I still also felt very safe and relaxed the whole trip.
Me and the other 3 volunteers planned a trip every weekend as this was our free time. I already had the Maldives booked with The Mighty Roar one weekend which was amazing!! But we also went to Galle, Ella & Mirissa on our own accord. This gave us a good chance to explore more of Sri Lanka but this was something I wasn't planning on doing before I came so was a huge added bonus for me.
Overall this experience was greater than I ever first imagined. It made me a more confident and independent person. It showed me things I never thought possible and opened up my eyes to wonderful opportunities. I would defiantly recommend this trip to everyone and I would defiantly want to go back when I get the chance. Thank you The Mighty Roar and thank you to Charith and his wonderful family.