ponedeljek, 17. maj 2010
Love Thy Neighbor
In my previous blog I was writing about the real karma. There were a lot of »should«-s. Surely some of you must have thought to themselves: »She preaches, but does she practice it in real life too? Posting on the net and getting all those sky-blue stars is one thing. Facing real people in need is another.« I couldn't agree more.
I hate to preach what I don't practice and luckily this time I have some real life stories to tell.
The first story started in autumn of 2007. I had my first volunteering experience. A went to the local old pensioners’ home and ask the social worker who was in charge of volunteering, if they need me. She assigned me to a relatively young lady in her 40-ies that is in a wheel-chair and is thus somehow forced to live in such a home. It was her decision to come there and she took full responsibility for this decision. I needed a year or so to stop feeling sorry for her. Now, after a year and a half, I view her as so normal and casual that I sometimes suggest some activities, that can clearly only be done by walking-people. Then I must apologize: “Sorry, I completely forgot you cannot walk.” And we laugh about it. I visit her every Tuesday, except during holidays when she has enough other visits anyway. I have written more about her in my blog Why volunteer? —Why not?
The upper example shows planned volunteering for which one needs time. But let me give you a very simple example of a half-an-hour-long volunteering done on the spur of the moment. In my block of flats there is a deaf couple. I do not speak the hand language. So I always restricted myself to nodding my head, smiling at them and moving on. The other day they seemed very motivated to talk to me. Of course I had no clue of what they were trying to say with their hands. Then all of a sudden I got a brilliant idea. I hopped to my apartment, took a pen and a piece of paper and hurried back downstairs. We spent a most delightful half an hour writing short sentences to each other and laughing. The part of our conversation that I found most amusing was the man’s occasional very short answer. When he agreed with something I had said, he simply ticked my sentence off.
And guess what – good will catches on. Some days later I noticed some other normally hearing neighbor talking with a pen and a piece of paper to the deaf couple. Isn’t this planet just beautiful?
You can ask me more about my experience with volunteering: firstname.lastname@example.org.