After retirement as a professional nurse, I soon began to feel the need to do something for others. I had known about Global Volunteers from friends of mine who had served in Poland. The philosophy of Global Volunteers was one I could embrace, and I felt inclined to offer what I could at home in the United States. Immediately upon learning about the Backfeet Nation of American Indians in Browning, Montana, I knew what my decision was going to be. I have actually made that same decision for many years.
A funny thing happened to me on the “Rez”. I was filled with ideas of what I could do —- how I was needed. Unexpectedly and quietly I was absorbed by the culture and the people. Their history and wisdom became the unanticipated expectation of wanting and needing to learn more about this legendary nation. From listening to elders, speaking with those we casually encountered to simply observing became an invitation to go back and finish the stories and history lessons they shared.
Whether feeding elders, planting gardens, or giving water to athletes during the games, the opportunity to examine yourself is all around you. The meeting of like minded volunteers is an added bonus, making wonderful new friends and living like a family while we serve together.
So, surrounded by the majestic Rockies, I realized that no matter what I gave, I received more. By now I metaphorically anticipate going to class each time I volunteer—– anxiously awaiting old and new teachers alike. Class is never out.
Lorraine Markowski – 5 Time Volunteer