My family and I chose to volunteer on the Sri Lanka childcare and turtle program last August for three weeks. We were at the end of a three month trip around the world and we wanted to introduce the children to a volunteer program that could help all of us give something back to a local community. The kids were very keen to work with wildlife but we also wanted to meet and work with locals so that we could learn more about Sri Lanka and it's people. Being able to do both childcare and turtle conservation at the same place was perfect.
"We liked TMR's ethos and ties with the communities they were working in."
We had looked at a lot of other volunteer programs but the Mighty Roar seemed firstly to be the most flexible around our children's ages (the youngest was 10 at the time of our visit) but more importantly seemed most focused on the actual projects.
We looked at a number of programs with other companies that were a lot more expensive but seemed to be far more focused on the trips and sightseeing you could do with them rather than the actual volunteer work. We liked TMR's ethos and ties with the communities they were working in.
Our journey to the project was very straight forward, even though we arrived close to midnight. We were met at the airport on time and driven the two hours to our accommodation with some other volunteers. We were looked after the whole way and our rooms were ready and waiting for us to fall into.
The first day there we were shown around the local area. We were taken on a walk to a local Buddhist temple and allowed to sit in on a service. We were then taken on a boat ride and shown around a mine before being taken to the closest supermarket so that we could stock up on supplies. At the end of the first day we were given a talk by our host and it was explained what would be required of us. All meals were provided in a lovely open eating area, where we were able to meet and get to know the other volunteers.
Our volunteering took on a variety of forms, some mornings we were beach cleaning (a sadly never ending task), others we were transported to a local turtle sanctuary where we helped feed turtles, clean out tanks, re-fill tanks with sea water and do whatever was needed to make sure the turtles were cared for. There was also a number of local children who came to our compound on a daily basis to learn English and our children would often get involved, playing volleyball and again helping wherever possible. During the evenings we would patrol the beach across the road, keeping a keen eye out for turtles so that we could protect them and their eggs from potential poachers - personally it was my favourite time. Under the watchful eye of the turtle project leader, Mammu, we would sit in the dark listening to the waves crash around us, excitedly scanning the seas for signs of turtles. Seeing a huge green turtle for the first time was something myself and my family will never forget, it was spine tingling.
During our free time we explored both the local area and further afield. With help from TMR we used buses to head up and down our local coast and at the weekends, again through TMR, we visited some amazing sights, including Udawalawe national park, where we saw Elephants, Kandy and its annual festival and the amazing Sigiriya.
As we were there for three weeks we saw a lot of volunteers come and go. At any one time there were at least 30 people on the various projects, and it was lovely to meet and make new friends. Since we have returned home we have even been to stay with another family that were on the projects with us and I'd like to think we have made life long friends.
The local team were amazing. The food that was cooked for us every day was out of this world and everyone was so welcoming and friendly, they couldn't do enough for us. Charith, Mammu, Karu, Uncle were all fantastic.
The accommodation was fine. We were lucky enough to be in our own room so our family of 5 had three bunk beds and our own bathroom. It suited us fine.
I have already recommended The Mighty Roar to friends and family and am keeping an eye out for other projects we can go on with them.