This summer, I travelled to Borneo as part of the joint Bournemouth & Northampton University group. I have always enjoyed being a volunteer and doing something meaningful, but also wanted to better myself. I believed Camp Borneo would let me do all that and get me out of my comfort zone.

Before we started our journey, the help we received from our RAG team was immensely helpful for fundraising. In addition, The Camps International team helped us with all pre-departure planning and provided us with information on what to expect at our destination. The local indigenous staff gave us additional briefings once we arrived and were responsible for our safety and security throughout our time in Borneo.

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When we first arrived in Pulau Mantanani, all the people we met were very friendly and made us feel welcomed. As soon as we entered the village I could see how simply the people lived on the island.

We started off with an introduction from the camp manager of Manatanani who then gave us our schedule and details on what to expect for the duration of our stay. We were assigned to stay in local houses for a week before we moved to the camp. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the culture and lifestyle of the people.

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Me and Bei Bei, a fellow volunteering member and friend, absolutely enjoyed our time in our homestay, mostly because of the owner as he was always helpful and took care of us well. I am especially thankful towards him and his family for taking extra care, cooking and looking after my health, when I was sick.

Waking up to the noise of a rooster instead of the alarm clock in the morning and being greeted with a fresh sea breeze was something that I missed back in Nepal where I was born. Snugging out from the mosquito net to have breakfast at 7am to eat rice or noodles for breakfast seemed like a lot of hard work but after working in the scorching heat from 8am- 11:30am, it made me realise that what I had for breakfast was the best food I’ve ever eaten.

Every morning we started at 8am to paint houses, pick up trash or fill water bottles with rubbish. After lunch, we sometimes continued with the same project from 2-4pm, but other times we were learning how to cook, making mats out of Pandan leaves, exploring the island or just chilling.

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When we first arrived in Pulau Mantanani, all the people we met were very friendly and made us feel welcomed. As soon as we entered the village I could see how simply the people lived on the island.Overall I had a great time! The whole trip was the highlight for me but if I had to choose, the boat trip was the most interesting event during my stay. Whilst we braved through the mix of thunder and storm towards the sunset, we were mesmerised when we finally saw the most beautiful sunset, the weather was fabricating the calmest and most serene sunset for us. It was almost like somebody was carefully taking away the layers of weather for a perfect sunset. Very memorable!

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I will forever remember my experience as a volunteer, going on a journey full of adventure and making a difference at the same time.

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I count myself very lucky because we were able to teach the children of the village, it was pleasant to see that the children had a lot of respect for their teachers. The love we got from the children made us feel appreciated even though we only taught them for a short amount of time.

It was quite emotional for us to leave them, not gonna lie I had tears in my eyes.

Teaching them was the main motive but they were the ones who taught me more things which I am very grateful for. The voices of those children calling out our name or saying ‘Saya! Saya’ which means I, still echoes in my ears.

I made new friends, learned a new culture, language and dance. I truly would like to say from bottom of my heart, Terima kasih!

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