Experience with helpex.net program . This year 2014 i decided to try out new things . I decide to go Japan , but i heard the stories about how damn expensive it is . Everyone said that staying in Japan longer for few days was impossible, so i looked for alternative options .
I came across Helpex program (Helpex.net ) . I registered (had to pay membership fee (It was about 20 euro or something like that ,for a year ))
What is helpex ?
Helpex is a work exchange program
In that house you stay for free in exchange for help.
Description in add includes what kind of help they need !The help is voluntary .
As it is a volunteer program ,
This program is created to experience new culture and learn about it !
. Place to stay mostly would be shared with others .,but could get lucky and get place all for yourself .
For me this was first experience ever . I was in little village called Murayama in Japan. With Japanese family . This family had a guesthouse and a farm . I found them on-line on Helpex.net . Talked to them on mails and decided to go ..
I was so worried , had no idea what to except ! I arrived in Yamagata .
Bus stopped just next to train station (Lucky me – as i had no idea where would it stop ) I walked to the train . Got ticket for few hundred yen and got to the train (sales man for tickets did not speak any English -So i wrote things in my Japanese guidebook ). I walked in the train and everyone started to stare at me.It was hilarious . There was no other free seat so i had to sit in the middle of the train . I got my laptop out and checked the Google maps (On the screen shot i left on )
Then i just sat . looked around and wondered . There were different groups of people .But each group had something in-common ,like hair cut , dress code or iPhone colour . Helpex.net experience started interesting already .Trains was 80 % full with school kids . They all had dark hair , dark eyes , white shirts , skirts and trousers in the same colours . It was funny . I felt uncomfortable being the only foreign person . Looking so different !
I got to the station called Murayama . It was around 2 pm .
I could call family and ask to pick me up , but decided to walk to their place . First i passed the house , i seen sign for the guest house , but wasn`t sure that this is it . Then after couple of minutes i turned back . Walked in guest-house . Skinny lady walked out and smiled , she asked if im a helper (Good news they were expecting me ).She asked me to wait for the man who speaks English and who put this add on Helpex.net in the first place .
I waited for around 2 hours .. Then a silver truck pulled up in drive way . He walked out all cheer-full and happy . Shake my and asked how was my trip !
We chatted for while to get idea what i can do to help and that would understand how it works .
Next morning we started to pick Aubergine .
They showed me how it works .Then back fr breakfast . I always felt strange . They had family dinner or breakfast in this case and i was sitting with them , They shared everything they had . Grandma would make breakfast and leave it at the counter then everyone in the family would eat together , food was mix of everything . Lots of things i have never even tried before .
After breakfast they showed me around all the fields ! It was exciting to see how farming works , I have never even held a freshly cut corn before !
In evening i would hang out in the house or hang around the town and explore (Which i never really did , coz there was some much going on in the house any-ways, too interesting to leave )
Then he showed me upstairs room, kitchen , shower , main house and all the other areas that i would be using . It was all for me , but i should be ready to share if needed . I was happy with little room with futons (Never even made a futon before !)
Many days we would be going to the near by cities and opening market and selling stuff like crepes , flour , corn and other stuff . I would come along and explore a market and sometimes help to prepare crepes ! Not very good ones , but i tried !
In these 3 weeks i got to see many festivals and met many interesting people .
Everyone took me in as a part of the family , they would everyday show me many interesting things and tell me stories , they would explain Japanese culture to me .
I cant even describe how interesting time there was ! I never got a feeling that im working , it was always a helping .
Complete Japanese experience could n`t ask for more !
After this i did 4 days Helpex in Tokyo city too . Was great experience too , so looks like Helpex.net is a way to go !