After 6 months of intense movement, I needed to break again to settle my head and rest my body. Here I tell you all my experience doing a volunteer in Borneo, Malaysia, and a little more than just that. The month of October was coming to an end. From the airport in Cebu, Philippines, I got on the plane that would drop me off on Borneo Island, Malaysia (after stopping in Manila), and more precisely in Kota Kinabalu, one of the main Malaysian cities in the north of the island, where I have eaten the best-grilled fish in its night market.
Gone were continental Malaysia (to which I would return after hitchhiking Borneo), Singapore, Indonesia, and my first experience volunteering with Worldpackers in an English school, East Timor, and a whole month touring the paradises of the Philippines. After these last months of intense movement, I wanted to stop again to accommodate the backpack, the head, and give the body rest. And after that first pleasant experience, I immediately started looking for a volunteer in the area.
My experience volunteering
After applying and receiving the approval Nabistul, the owner of the place, contacted me to tell me about the place and what I had to do. The talk became very good and fluid, and after telling him about me and the trip I was taking, he decided to open up and tell me a little more: since he had separated he had to leave the place and move to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital And from that moment on, the people who were in charge, some young Malays, did not care too much about maintaining the place, which caused it to decline in quality and consequently in occupation.
In addition to this, a traveler offered to help her and she trusted him, which did not end well at all: this person scammed her and left her many more problems than she had. This is how my horizon was presented, but before the end of the talk, I told her not to worry, that this was not going to happen with me and that I was going to help her put the place in condition again. And so our talk ended, which went from presentation to something much deeper.
The tasks during my volunteering at the hostel in Borneo
I fixed what was needed, re-printed the typical posters that one finds in hostels, I thoroughly cleaned each bathroom, arranged the rooms, bought air fresheners, cleaned, and continued cleaning. After a few days, the change was evident and my work was noticeable. The hostel was empty, which helped me to do everything necessary.
Within a week, Nabistul showed up and we finally met face to face. After chatting I was able to show her everything I had been doing, and luckily all my work left her very happy. That was how every time I started to help her with more things: she asked me to take care of the hostel’s social networks and put them in conditions, and if I could also take advantage of my personal blog to promote it a little and try to raise the low occupancy.
What did I get in exchange for my volunteer hours?
Although what was included was the typical accommodation plus all the meals, taking advantage of the Kiwi couple’s stay, and all the excursions they were going to do, Nabistul offered me to join several of them, paying only the entrance fees to certain places. Of course, I accepted and thanks to this I was able to see orangutans at a rehabilitation center, bears, crocodiles, navigate rivers in search of more wild animals and walk through a huge rain forest. There is no doubt that the final balance was very favorable.
The idea of telling you all this is not only that you know my experience, but to encourage you to go a little further. It is not only about fulfilling to the letter what they propose us to do and detaching ourselves from everything, it is an experience, and if we can be useful and do something else, why not do it. Generate a relationship with the hosts, get involved with those around you, you can give much more to those who receive you and thus you get much more juice in your path, remember that trips are made of experiences and of the people who cross it…