Tasikoki has definitely been the most labor intensive volunteer program I have experienced so far, but for good reason. There are a lot of animals to take care of, and even though the keepers feed the animals, the volunteers take on a lot of the extra projects that need to be done around the center.
The days start early. We normally get up around 5 to be ready for the 6 am browse. All the different animals eat an array of vegetation from the jungle, so we have to go out and collect it.
We will spend the morning looking for leaves, grasses, and palms for the animals and then distribute the browse accordingly.
At 8 am we get an hour break for breakfast. Tasikoki serves mainly vegetarian food besides a bit of fish every once in a while. Personally I’ve been very happy with the food provided. There is always a lot of veggies and fresh fruit and my favorite home made bread and peanut butter! I seriously could eat the peanut butter all day every day.
After our breakfast hour, we jump right back into work with the morning chores. Depending on what job you are assigned, you might be feeding the birds and bears or handing out enrichments to the primates. There are various projects teams working hard building and decorating new enclosures, and they always need some help.
Out of all the jobs here, I think my favorites are feeding the birds and bears and working on one of the projects teams. I like that you can see the progress and positive impacts we are making every day.
We break for lunch at 11:30 for an hour and a half.
Usually I shove some food in my face and then take a quick power nap. I’m not much of an early morning person, so I’m usually beat by lunchtime.
We go back to work at 1 pm and finish at 3:30.
After that, it’s a quick dash to the shower. I don’t mind roughing it, but I cannot stand feeling dirty.
And after a day of wandering around the jungle and sweating from the humidity, I openly welcome the cool shower.
Evening time is hang out time, and one of the best places to hang out is the observation tower. It’s the best place to sit and watch the sunset.
This has also become my new yoga studio. I thought the jetty on Pom Pom Island was the best studio, but the observation tower just might beat it.
However now it’s afternoon yoga because lets be honest….there is no way I will be able to wake up at 4am to do yoga.
The size of my class has grown too. I only had a couple of people who joined me on Pom Pom, but here more and more people have been asking to join.
By the end of the day, we are tired and really need to stretch out our achy muscles.
There isn’t something going on every night, but we normally find some kind of activity to keep us busy.
We have the option of playing a game of ping pong or billiards. A group of volunteers has recently started up an ongoing game of poker. We also have the option of doing a karaoke or movie night. It really just depends on what everyone wants to do.
Bedtime comes early here…..for me at least. 5 am creeps up quick, and I don’t want to be completely tired for the next day. I’m usually a night owl, so it’s been a little difficult to get used to, but I’m sure I’ll survive.
So there you have it!
This is the life of a Tasikoki volunteer. If you think this is something you would be interested in doing, you can find more info on Tasikoki’s website.