Name: Jen Lucas
Hometown: Palmetto Bay, Florida
Nationality: United States
Languages Spoken: English and Spanish (Beginner)
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Organic Gardening in Vang Vieng, Laos
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: January 2017
Claim to fame: Jen has worked in several volunteer projects like reading to children in libraries, cheer up ill patients in hospitals, growing food for urban cooperatives and feeding and clothing the homeless. Welcome to the UBELONG Family!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
As I was planning my three month trip to Asia and Australia, I really wanted to focus on giving back my time to worthwhile volunteer programs that are making a concerted effort to improve the quality of life for humans, animals, and the environment alike. Throughout my research, UBELONG kept coming through as a reputable organization who’s focus lines up with these ideals. I was continually impressed by other volunteer reviews and the dedication of everyone involved to help make the world a little bit better place to live.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
I would like to think I was able to help progress the farm at the project a little bit more than where it was before the time I spent there. I helped establish an irrigation system to effectively water the many plants and trees they are growing on the property, during Laos’ dry season. With any luck, this system will be used as a teaching tool for other local farmers to learn more about organic and sustainable practices, which they can utilize for their own production.
What were your major challenges?
My main challenge with this project was the time it took to get things done and the access to funding with which to complete projects. Many times, our work was cut short due to problems with sourcing materials, inclement weather, and other unpredictable issues that arose. I quickly discovered that 2 weeks simply would not be enough time to make a dent in the amount of work that needs to be completed at the farm.
How would you describe local life?
Local life is a mixture of laid back village ideals and hectic tourist endeavors. On one hand, our accommodation is situated in a quiet neighborhood street, which is peaceful and takes a step back from the center of town. On the other hand, the center of town is bustling epicenter of bars, restaurants, and adventurous tour packages, which are overrun with a variety of tourists from all over the world. It was a very interesting and unique mix of excitement and relaxation.