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This morning as I ate my breakfast in front of the television, I watched one of the programs on MetroTv. At first, I thought that this program was just another travel program, but as I watched it longer, I found a unique vocabulary that I have never heard before. It is voluntourism. Voluntourism, I guess you could already guess, comes from the terms volunteering and tourism. How do these things work together? Well, this is how the story goes:
The host visited Papua, one of the greatest islands for travelling, especially for those who love diving. I’m sure you guys have heard about Raja Ampat, walking sharks, and others. So, this was the place that the host visited. She first learnt how to fish. They fished in order to practice their patience and to made their arms and legs stronger because you have to pull the fishing pole against the fish. You also have to stand firmly in order to support your body and release the fish once it is getting close to you. Next, she learned how to cook the traditional food of Papua that was made from sagoo. She then took a diving course, and after that she met with photographer community in Biak and joined them to look at some spots to take a photo.
This was the difference and the reason why the terms voluntourism appears. After visiting some great places and learning something new, the host came to a place, kind of classroom, a humble house with a room to study and learn. The community in Papua believes that while you are travelling, it is better for you not to just have some fun by visiting places for your own pleasures, but you can try to also take part as a volunteer in several places with the community that takes care of its program. For example, there is a community called Buku untuk Papua (Books for Papua) that runs some programs to develop the education for Papua’s children. The host joined this community and to take part as a volunteer. She joined them to lead songs and teach them how to read.
By travelling and volunteering, I cannot describe how much happiness you will get from this combination. Moreover, you will not only have fun, but it is a life-value, and a precious lesson. Most importantly, you can help people. If someone needs needs a hand from a person, and that could be you.
If we take a look, there are actually a lot of communities, especially in Indonesia, that have their own problem-specification. Voluntourism is something that has a high possibility to be performed in Indonesia. I hope this term, voluntourism, will be spreaded around Indonesia and its activities will be more popular as well.
Source: A MetroTV program, Saturday, January 18th.