In the comfort of our homes, we read about hunger, poverty, and disabilities. But we are not affected by those distant worlds.
"Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do..."
-JOHANN WOLFGANG VAN GOETHE
Volunteering is one the greatest things anyone can do. It is something everyone must experience, because it is an opportunity to step out side of your self, and bring change to a never-changing situation. The children of the orphanage lived in a never-changing environment. When you touch a child, you touch a life. When you touch a life, you inspire hope. And the life you inspire can change a world. We are but instruments through which inspirations must flow.
Volunteering is a series of inspired moments that will awaken feelings you hadn't felt, and present you with circumstances you could not imagine. It is not the physical work that will challenge you, nor the long hours that will exhaust you. It is the emotions that you must manage while you are busy giving, that challenge you. It is the feeling of helplessness that exhausts you because you cannot give enough of yourself. Because when you are in the moment of giving, you cannot stop identifying the millions of other things that you can make better. And when you go to bed at night there is a voice in your head, whispering and counting the issues you identified in your working day, asking you "How will I get everything done? What will happen when I leave? Who will continue helping when I am gone?" And, you want to witness a resolution to some of the issues. You want to go home knowing that you fixed the problems, or that you have stopped the "bleeding." But you won't see a resolution, or completely stop the bleeding. What you will do is contribute change while making things better. And change is hope to those who live in never-changing environments. The children of the orphanage will take this hope and carry forward.
You will come home and encourage others to join you in giving because the continued flow of hope will continue to inspire, those in need, to push forward. And you will try to describe your experiences, your efforts, and your challenges, but it won't be enough. You will go back. You will do it again, because you will experience and witness a greater change in yourself than in those who you went to inspire. Truly, you will never be the same. You will be greater for the experience, and those you helped will live in your heart forever.
I was lucky to participate in this program and to observe the eight volunteers give unconditionally. They not only implemented the projects we set out to accomplish, they answered the questions that little voice asked them at night. They created, replaced, installed, and repaired all the little things they noticed in their working days. I witnessed them change the lives of the children at the orphanage, as well as the lives of the peoples of Salkantay. And, most memorably, I watched the volunteers evolve through difficult circumstances, and challenges. I watched them walk away not only as greater individuals, but as GIANTS.
Through volunteering you will share your inspired spirit and touch a life that will grow in to greater directions because of your time and efforts. Please get involved.