Volunteers Frequently Asked Questions:
What does the daily routine look like?
The volunteers are often split into 2 teams. We normally are ready before 9am and one team goes off to the turtle centre to check on the turtles, clean their tanks and feed them. The other team cleans the house, gets the groceries and cooks lunch and dinner. The roles rotate daily so you will not be doing the same task as the day before. After lunch the whole island goes on siesta! During this time, we often go to a beach to relax, snorkel and/or swim. In the late afternoon the centre opens up to the public. Here you will give short informative guides about turtles to the visitors and take them through each of our three educative corridors. This will all be explained to you beforehand so there is no need to be a turtle expert before you arrive. If you do not speak Italian, you will be guiding the visitors ensuring they keep to one side and follow their guide. If a group of english visitors do turn up you will be expected to give the guide instead. After this we often enjoy a sunset altogether, feed the cats, have dinner and then go out in the evening to a bar or watch the stars at the north cliffs.
how much time do i spend with the turtles?
This varies depending on how many other volunteers are volunteering at the same time. However, it can be up to 3 hours per day depending on the tasks that need to be completed at the turtle centre. It can also vary depending on the number of turtles we have in when you arrive, there are definitely more during the summer.
what should i pack?
It is important to bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, this can include old t-shirts, shorts and leggings. Bringing 2 or 3 nicer outfits is suggested for the evening activities or for going out to a restaurant. During the winter season it is recommended to bring warm clothes as it can get very cold in the evenings and there is no heating in the house. Flip flops and trainers are appropriate due to different terrains and activities. In the summer having a hat, sun cream, swim wear, sunglasses and insect repellent is highly advised.
How does the accommodation work?
We have four different bedrooms at the volunteer house with space ranging from 2-4 people in one room. We try to ensure that you will sleep in a single gendered room. All rooms have some storage for clothes and personal belongings and in the summer, there are fans in every room. There are 2 bathrooms, both with showers and one washing machine. The accommodation is quite simple however all your needs will be met.
how do mealtimes work?
At the volunteer house there is a kitchen where meals are prepared and cooked. This is often done in pairs or small groups. You will be in charge of cooking for all the volunteers for one meal a day when you are the team at the house. As mentioned previously the roles rotate daily so you will not be doing the same tasks as the day before. We try to go out for lunch and dinner at least once a week.
what if i have dietary requirements?
We can accommodate for any dietary requirements as long as this is told at the beginning of your stay. The team that will be cooking that day will be informed and will cook something suitable to meet your needs.
what if i don't speak italian?
Daniela Freggi and the lead volunteers speak english and so this is not a problem. The majority of volunteers coming do speak Italian and so it can be daunting at first, however most speak english and so do try to actively join in.
when is the best time to volunteer?
The busiest time of the year is July, August and September as this is when there are the most volunteers (up to 13 volunteers) and most turtles due to an increase in fishing because of the weather. During these months there are many tourists on the island and so we have a lot of visitors at our centre. This also means that this is the time the island is busiest. Our most quiet time of the year is from November to May where the island and main street is rather empty, shops are closed and new turtles are a rare occurrence.
what is there to do in my free-time?
Lampedusa island is 20km2 and has around 6,000 inhabitants meaning that it is rather small and entertainment is quite limited. However, in summer there are numerous restaurants, cafes, bars and souvenir shops open. We also like to go to the multiple different beaches during siesta, particularly the white sandy beach of Isola di Conigli. Porto d’europa is nice to enjoy the sunset with a few drinks and the north cliffs are great place to watch the stars on a warm clear evening.
how much time do you think I should spend volunteering here?
The ideal time to spend here is 3 weeks due to it being easier to integrate into the life here and properly know your roles, responsibilities and other volunteers. However, any time that you can give is appreciated and valued. (the minimum time is 1 week).
what should I be aware of?
Living with other volunteers can be socially demanding nevertheless it is a rewarding experience and you are sure to meet amazing likeminded people. Additionally, there are a lot of cats on the island, so be sure to like cats! We have around 6 house cats and 15 regular cats that will need to be fed daily. Lastly, with Lampedusa being in the middle of the Mediterranean, the signal on the island is weak. Unfortunately, there is no wifi at the volunteer house. However, a lot of network providers do actually work on the island, but be prepared for inconsistency.