Once upon a time there was an andalusian sheppard… that decided to travel far far away…
The last weekend was the mandatory on-arrival training for all the volunteers that came to Romania in the past two months. So,imagine, 75 people from 11 countries and even more cultures, all together in a hotel working together. I cannot imagine a better scenario. And of course all of us are different: different languages, different religions, different costumes, different concepts and values, etc. As a diversity lover it’s incredible to know that amount of interesting people. But I am not here to talk about diversity (plot twist!), I would like to share with you what makes us similar, a pattern.
I will call it the “Volunteer pattern” (woah, that sounds important).
What is the volunteer pattern?, may you ask reading this blog. It’s something in the aura of the volunteers, it’s an acctitude, it’s a way of beeing. The volunteers that I met at the on-arrival training have some things in common. We all are courious people and we love to know more about other cultures. We all love diversity and we look for it like the moths look for the light. We are in the right mood to learn all that we can from this events, and to share even personal things with people that we just met. I mean, we were able of create an incredible feeling of belonging and an amazing supportive team in jus 5 days. Just five days!!!! And when we had to say good-bye everybody was sad beacause of that. Thas is possible because of the volunteer pattern, I am sure. I mean, 75 coach sellers meeting in a hotel during 5 days don’t make a team. We did it because we are volunteers.
Also we love to give things to the others but at the same time we love to receive from the others. When we are in a room we do our best to include all the people and we don’t mind if some of us cannot comunicate in english, of they are shy, or they are afraid of make mistakes. Oh, the mistakes, it’s incredible how we can change if instead of punish them (as the society use to do) we are supportive when we make a mistake. And not only that, it’s incredible to think how the people can improve if you smile at them and say “It’s ok, don’t worry, we are here to help you” when they make a mistake. Encourage them to fight their fears and be patient with them it’s the key for them to improve, and the results are amazing. The firs day we had people that didn’t talk at all but at the end they were the soul of their groups. And of course that is what we want for us when we make a mistake. But the thing is that the most of the volunteers at the on-arrival meeting did that INSTINCTIVELY. That is the volunteer pattern.
I guess that we are capable of that because we share some previous experiences and personalities. In order to become to volunteer you have to be interested in to know other countries, languages, cultures. You have to search by yourself your project, to apply for it, to make an interview with someone in english (and no one was from UK so it’s not our mother language). You have to travel alone to a very different place, to meet a lots of new people, work with them and live with them. You have to be brave enough to change your life in order to help others. That is a HUGE thing. And all the volunteers know what is the feeling of being a foreigner, an strange in a new context. That can be hard but it prepares ourselves to reach the volunteer pattern. A lot of people (dumb people, in my humble opinion) think that being a volunteer is something easy, you travel, you party, you get drunk and all paid by de European Union. But not at all. To be a volunteers is to be brave enough to face an experience that can change your live and other’s live. And believe me, to be at the edge of a cliff and jump because you want is not that easy. You have to be one especific kind of person. You must have the volunteer pattern.
Finally the volunteers have something more in common. We are trying to discover ourselves. We want to experiment, to try new things, to reach our limits and to try to go even farther. The people tha are cowards try to be brave, the people that used to be shy thy force themselves to participate and make new friends, the people that used to avoid the conflicts and the responasbilities try to face them by choice, the people that used to lie to hide themselves in a shell try to tell personal things to unknown people, the people that dont like the risks they try to get out of their comfort zone. That is magic. We are trying to explore our minds and capacities as the adventurous we are. You have people from different ages, genders, ethnic groups, jobs, degrees, wandering who they are and what they want to do with their lives. A lot of people rebuilding themselves, their mindsets, their values, their ways of life, and all of them sharing their doubts with others. That brings a lots of interesting conversations about philosophy, society, religion, culture, inclusion, what to study, personal thoughts and feelings. To be in the same point with a lot of people that makes the same questions that you are doing feels amazing. And the fact that we allow each other to talk about that and to express our doubts without saying “C’mon men, you think to much!” is what allow us to find the answers to these questions and to learn from each other.
In conclusion: I am because you are (Ubuntu). The volunteer pattern connect us in an incredible human web of discovery.
So let the adventure begin!
By the way Bucharest is really nice, maybe i will tell you more about it in another post.