Monday, February 22, 2010

Why I Volunteer.....

A few years back I was going through a rough period in my life. I had just finalized a divorce, albeit an amicable one, it is still somethingthat impacts a person emotionally and physically. I was at a crossroadsin my life as I had moved half way across the country away from my family when I got married. I had a great job and had good friends, but was far away from where I grew up and where my family was. I usually take a big trip every year and often it involved either hiking some big mountain in some far away country or working with organizations like Earthwatch, where you join on scientific expeditions.

After my divorce I decided that I wanted to do something different and needed a chance to be alone with my thoughts to help me figure out what direction I should go in next. I was looking into other Earthwatch expeditionswhen I came across the Global Volunteers website and knew that this was what I needed. In particular, the trip to Costa Rica looked amazing...great scenery, helping to build a community center and a place far away to take my mind off of things.

The Costa Rica trip was a very memorable one in that in helping others, I learned an awful lot about myself and what is most important to me. The local "ticos" where not only warm, friendly and open-hearted, but they also have an extremely strong sense of family.
Everybody contributed to the well being of the family and community without complaining and without reserve. The members of the local communitywould wake up, perform their farm responsibilities, join us for 6-8 hours in painting/constructing a community center and then head back home for more farming. They cooked us fantastic meals and made us feel like we were part of their family. When the trip was coming to a close, we all traded gifts and many tears. It made me realize that family and community is something that should be at the top of everyone's list and clearly the right answer for me was to move back home. Moving back home was the right answer as I am closer with my family than I have ever been, am now re-married and am happier and more satisfied with my life than ever before.

It is said the experience is not aboutwhat happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you. My experiences in Costa Rica helped me to cleanse my soul and inspire me in a way that I didn't expect, but am ever so grateful. Global Volunteers is a special organization and will always be special to me. Since Costa Rica, I have also volunteered in Australia with an Aborgine group and look forward to more trips in the future.


Melody Moser said...

Lovely post, thanks so much for sharing your experience! I've been wanting to do a Global Volunteers trip for some time now (Earthwatch as well) so maybe it's time to sign up. :)