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On the morning of second day of our volunteer trip I could feel the work we did the previous day in my bones. We were driving to the same village to build the foundation of early childhood education center PAUD Satar Walang, located only a few hundred meters from SD Munting Kajang, where we had done the flooring the day before. When we arrived at the PAUD the sun was already in full force and our first course of action was putting up a tarp tent for resting area to keep us as cool as possible while we were taking breaks. It was even hotter than the day before and as we were doing ground work there were no walls to provide some shade. This time we had to mix and carry the cement like the day before but also dig up rocks and carry them to the school foundation. Another task for the day was making bricks out of cement for the walls. The work was hard, no doubt about that, but our morale was high and everyone was putting in all the energy they had.

Our volunteers digging up rocks for the school building foundation.

After a while we noticed that we had some visitors. The students of PAUD Satar Walang had started to gather at our resting area to see the construction site of their future school. They sang us some songs and my heart was melting once again. Afterwards Paul and Mike started handing out some donated clothing from H&M to the kids. Most of them couldn’t wait to try their new outfits and not soon after many of them were already wearing the new shirts. They confidently posed for me and my camera and showed off their new shoes and shirts.

After having our motivation and energy recharged by this cuteness overload we went back to work. Some of the parents didn’t want to leave and jumped in to help us digging up rocks and carrying the cement. Seeing the community members came together and helped our volunteers was a wonderful example of teamwork and bringing people from different walks of life together to work towards the same goal…and becoming friends along the way. Although most of the volunteers didn’t know each other before the build and had just met two days before. it already felt like we had known each other for a while.

Volunteering with Happy Hearts Indonesia is rewarding in many ways: Our “Volunteers of the Day” Kester and Dewi are receiving their certificate from volunteer host Lusman and Happy Hearts Indonesia’s CEO Sylvia (left) and Kester is having fun with one of the PAUD’s students (right).

After we finished at the project site we decided to go and explore the area a little more together. We visited a limestone cave Batu Cermin in Labuan Bajo. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at one of Labuan Bajo’s great viewpoints and watched the sun set over the ocean. Later that night we met up with all the volunteers for one last joined dinner and shared our thoughts and favorite memories of those 2 days. This trip was such an invaluable experience and I would gladly go on another volunteer trip anytime given the chance!

If you want to get your hands dirty for a good cause, you can sign up to become a volunteer here.

Written by: Anni

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