The intense voluntourist life: Mighty Agung and my first Balinese wedding

by Carlos & Carlos, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

On the night of the 26th of May, we lived through one of the most challenging and thrilling experiences of our entire lives. It is not easy climbing to the top of Bali’s highest mountain, Mount Agung.

We woke up at midnight to get ready for the trekking. We packed some peanuts and water and left the center. When we got there we realized we didn´t really know what we got ourselves into. It was so dark that you couldn’t see your own hand in front of your face, and we had comBlog_Agung_Photo4e woefully unprepared – trainers with no grip, a pair of shorts and a thin jumper. The adventure had just started.

We met the guides at the base camp at the Mother Temple of Besakih, the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali. During the last volcano eruption in 1963, most of the villages in the area were destroyed, but when the lava reached the temple, it splitted into two streams keeping the temple untouched.

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After 4 hours of walking, climbing and crawling up the 10,000ft of Mount Agung, we could barely feel our legs. We had made it to the top. We found ourselves having breakfast by a bonfire with the other groups that had already made it to the top. We waited until 6.20am at the summit of the volcano to see the first ray of sun over the horizon.

It was a very rewarding experience and we felt really accomplished when we reached the top. It was definitely worth all the effort.

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One week after climbing the volcano, all the volunteers were invited to a Hindu wedding in Buitan, the village where the IHF Centre is located. Balinese weddings are very different compared to Western weddings in many aspects, but they are also a big social event where most of the people in the village will attend. It was an amazing opportunity to get to know the locals and interact with them.Blog_Photo4 (1)

The ceremony was held on Monday, but they started celebrating almost one week in advance! Everyone in the village got involved to make sure that everything was ready for the big day. Some of them decorated the house, some of them cooked the food, and some others prepared the celebration after the ceremony.

The groom and the bride wore elaborate gold headpieces and large ear rings, and they both wore make-up during the ceremony day. All the guests in the wedding wore a Sarong, a large piece of cloth that is wrapped around the waist. Sarongs come in all colours, and nothing is supposed to match, so all the volunteers got a Sarong of a different colour!

An abundant dinner was offered, consisting of rice, chicken, vegetables and other traditional Balinese dishes. We all had a great time and it was an unforgettable experience.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the wedding!

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