Posted by: masaranghk | September 12, 2016

Volunteering at Tasikoki: A French International School Student’s Opinion


The thing with wanting to help is that we often make excuses and keep putting it off because we just don’t realise how much we can make a difference.

I was a member of a team of students and staff from the French International School that went to carry out active learning and volunteer at the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre. All the students who volunteered to go on this trip study Ecology thus we already had two major pieces of information before going:

  1. There are a number of serious environmental problems;
  2. There are people who are trying their best to fix the problems.

We went to Tasikoki to not only experience the problems but also to learn how to help solve these problems first hand.

Of course we weren’t used to the schedule nor to waking up so early and going straight to work without eating breakfast, but we understand that at Tasikoki, the animals’ needs have to be put first. This was not easy, but I do believe it was an honest lesson that taught us about priorities and that some things are more important and greater than ourselves. This understanding really helped put many things into perspective, because we came to understand that the environment has many troubles and even though it gives us signs, it does not have a voice to complain. Nature involves balance with the correct mixture of different animals, trees and plants to function effectively but monoculture is suffocating the Earth. Perhaps we have to learn to be more in tune with Nature?

Throughout the trip we had the privilege of discovering an incredible flora and a majestic fauna. The policy at Tasikoki is to rescue, rehabilitate and, whenever possible, release and due to work of the dedicated team at Tasikoki, many of the rescued animals there get another chance at freedom.

We were pleased we were also able to help the flora at the project, as we had the opportunity to plant food crops and palm sugar trees amongst other things and this kind of work is very rewarding because it is tangible, it has immediate effects and the only required tool is our hands.

Just because some choices we are making may seem easier, it does not mean it is right for us to continue making all of them. For example, after our studies and the visit, we learned to check products for palm oil and appreciated that we should try to avoid products containing it. This is a big step forward. Each day at Tasikoki we were given amazing vegetarian food that not only was unprocessed and palm oil free, but also was delicious and made us feel amazing!

What surprised me most I think is the team spirit that developed during the trip, whether it was to lend one another sunscreen and mosquito repellent or to achieve the common goal of sealing the holes in the turtle pond. We did learn that nothing could be done very effectively if we do not work together. We were able to appreciate that the Masarang Foundation team protect the forest and the animals by working hand in hand with the community. This was demonstrated when we visited the sugar factory at Tomohon as everyone was so positive and we were greeted at the village with pastries baked with palm sugar. Moreover, the palm tapper we had the honour to meet also explained the many benefits that came with his job that undeniably improved his quality of life and led to him being able to send his children to school and university.

At Tasikoki I realised that in order to learn even more about critical environmental issues, to help the work of the Masarang Foundation and have a positive impact on the world, I was exactly at the right place.

Our team is very grateful to the school and the wonderful teachers that went to Tasikoki with us from FIS, as well as the dedicated team at Tasikoki and the volunteers at Masarang HK.

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