Over 80 volunteers helped keep the wheels turning at UFF17 in almost every area of the Festival, from registering journalists in the Media Center to introducing sessions and speakers as MCs. In our Volunteer Stories series we’ll hear from them about their Festival experience, and all the tasty things they tried along the way! To kick off the series, we spoke to Virginia Helzainka, a returning volunteer who has also lent her MC talents to our sibling event, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival.
Virgi, what was the most delicious thing you ate at UFF17?
Ikan goreng prepared by Tasia and Grasia Seger! Not only because they were so delightful on the Kitchen Stage but also definitely the food. The taste was WOW, a beautifully cooked fish and a sweet, spicy, tangy sauce almost like rujak – what an amazing fusion of western and Asian cooking! And then the portion itself – everyone at the venue got to taste it and were given a legit size, it wasn’t too small, so you could actually taste all the ingredients and the texture of the fish. Wonderful work, T and G!
What was the most memorable moment of your UFF17 volunteer experience?
It was the first night of the Festival when I was MCing at the After Dark stage. This was the very first time I hosted a live music event where you had to do a lot of talking, mentioning sponsors and other kinds of improvisation. It was very different from the formal sessions, so I was so nervous. Luckily, I was paired with my Supervisor who was very patient and talked me through it step by step (thank you Ditta!) which was very helpful and we ended the night smoothly (yeah!).
What did you learn at UFF17?
I learned a lot more about MCing while hosting the sessions. My Supervisor was super helpful and naturally nurturing. She advised me on better techniques like managing communications between two hosts, intonations, body language, how to get the crowd’s attention when they are focusing on the food on their plate. Not to mention I built up my cooking vocabulary while hosting the cooking demo! My knowledge of Indonesian food is definitely at a much higher level than before. I was introduced to ulat sagu and other Papuan specialties from Chef Toto; I learned about infusing cheese with tempeh when I listened to a very interesting conversation between Chef Ragil and an audience member. And there were many other surprising things I didn’t expect to learn, like awesome dance moves from the little kids enjoying the live music!
What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering for the first time at UFF18?
Get your calendar already and mark the days of this amazing Festival in 2018. Save up as you do not want to miss out tasting all the food from the stalls. You won’t just get a new experience with the food, but also a lovely new family with the volunteers and staff of UFF who are very welcoming and supportive!