It was such a twist of fate that I ended up doing my first ever volunteer gig in a hostel in Rio de Janeiro than living in a couchsurfer’s crib, as initially planned. I couldn’t be more grateful for it along with everyone and everything I experienced during my 7-week stay at this hostel.
I landed this volunteering job, through Workaway, in Green Culture Eco Hostel, RJ and it got me excited thinking that for the next 2 months, I will have a roof on my head cost-free but of course, I will have to work for it.
About the hostel –
Green Culture Eco Hostel is located in Chapeu Mangeira favela (right beside Babilonia favela) but contrary to what others think about how unsafe and dangerous living in a favela is, this neighborhood is very safe, secure and well lit. I even walked alone in the middle of the night several times and got home unharmed but of course, I was very aware of my surroundings all the time. More so, it is located just 10 minutes away from Leme and Copacabana beach.
The hostel itself has a very relaxing and homey vibe. Given the perfect view of the beach with matching hammocks, it is very easy to succumb to a lazy day and just stay in even if the beach is just around the corner. Also, this hostel has good kitchen facilities, which allows you to cook your own food considering how costly it is to eat out. And a good WIFI connection is also a plus for this hostel.
Should you find yourself in Rio de Janeiro, Green Culture – Eco hostel is highly recommended.
My first-hand experience as a VOLUNTEER –
The living conditions of the volunteers, on the other hand, still had room for improvement. Comfort was really a luxury when you’re away from home, hence, to live with the messiness, the dark and dusty rooms, dirty kitchen and bathroom were something I had to deal with and after a week, I got used to it.
As for the work shift, the 8-hour shift is too much for a volunteering gig. In my opinion, 5 hours max should be enough especially during low season. The work itself was relatively easy but if cleaning and keeping things organized are not your thing, then this job is not for you.
Also, cleaning entails making the beds of the guests, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen but don’t let it get to your head and would make you think, “I didn’t acquire a post-graduate degree just to clean rooms”. At one point, it can really get to you but you only have to remember two things:
- Everything is temporary, which meant you won’t be doing this for the rest of your life but only until you start moving to another place;
- Everything is a trade-off, which meant you get to live for free and enjoy a life by the beach in one of the most expensive cities in the world and in exchange, you just have to clean rooms. Fair enough, don’t you think?
The BEST part.
The best part of living in this hostel was the opportunity to meet, interact, share a beer or weed, and party with people from across the globe. Germans, Swedish, Polish, English, Peruvian, Egyptians and Brazilians were just some of the nationalities I encountered during my 7-week stay in Rio.
Listening to their stories was overwhelming as it really opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities and cultural differences, which were quite interesting. During my stay, I observed how English loves to cook, how Germans really love drinking beer regardless of the time of the day as well as their love for electronic music, the importance of Caipirinhas and Churrasco for the Brazilians, how most Europeans take their coffee plain black, and a lot more.
These small things can easily make you “culturally” aware of how big the world truly is and not to mention, these people have already been traveling much longer than I am so interacting with them gave me first-hand information and recommendations about places to go to, things to do and see, etc.
Overall I can say that working at this hostel was a humbling and a once in a lifetime experience that I would forever hold dear to me. It pushed me beyond limits and beyond my comfort zone, and forced me to always keep a positive mind and attitude despite of.