Monday, November 22, 2010

On Volunteerism

I was never into volunteerism. I never signed up for any community service back then. Not because I don't have the time nor the will - I am just plain lazy.

My first volunteering act came just a year ago when our country was rampaged by a strong typhoon. It brought heavy rains and flooded almost the entire capital city like seas. (See post here)

It was heart-wrenching and everything seemed hopeless. Seeing the awful situation on TV, I rummaged through my dresser and pulled out some of my clothes that I don't get to wear often. I placed them in the plastic bag, made a quick stop at the grocery and bought a few canned goods. I went straight to an organization which accepts donation for the typhoon victims. I was overwhelmed to see how much they have gathered for the day. Help was pouring from all parts of the country, as well as overseas. Yet I felt what I had given wasn't enough. The clothes would only accommodate a single household and the groceries would last a day or two. There are countless who needed help and I felt I got to do something about it. I don't have thousands or millions to donate. But I figured I could devote a little of my time.

When a television network announced they were looking for volunteers to segregate and pack the in-kind donations that keep coming, I knew it was my cue. I invited some of my friends to join and soon we found ourselves in the midst of the sacks and sacks of various goods from those who have big hearts. We volunteered for only 3 hours. It was hot and dusty inside the compound. I am allergic to dusts, but for the first time I stopped minding myself. It was my time to make a difference.

Yesterday I signed up for another community service. Our company launched a free clinic and they needed volunteers to assist the doctors and nurses in giving care to the patients. That was my first time to be part of a mini-medical mission (I like to call it that way so spare me!) I was assigned in the medicine dispensing team and boy, I was really having a hard time understanding a doctor's handwriting. Why do they like to chicken scratch it? And not only that, I was "nosebleeding" reading those lengthy, tounge-twistering generic names. The "cin", "fin", "tin" - they were haunting me in my sleep.

Anyway, the whole day activity was successful. We were able to serve hundreds of patients. It was tiring but surprisingly I was having fun! I've been thinking of doing it again. Sometimes you don't need a single penny to have your efforts compensated. It's when you know you have given something and you're not expecting anything in return is what makes it even more fulfilling.

               ~ If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. ~

                                                                                                - Booker T. Washington


~Rachel~ said...

That is awesome Jan! Way to give back! :-)

Gnetch said...

Haha! Participating in a medical mission is one of my "dreams". I used to participate in outreach programs back in college but never in a medical mission.

I'm glad you had fun. What TV network was this?

volunteer abroad said...

Good job! Best wishes to you. You know doing something for the other person would give us a unique kind happiness...


janjan said...

Rachel - thanks Rachel! :)

Gnetch - That was ABS-CBN. yeah right, it can be really fun...

Volunteer abroad - hey, thanks for dropping by.


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