From that very first Global Volunteers service program was in Rarotonga of the Cook Islands, the charming little wee dot of an island, smack dab in the middle of the vast South Pacific, meeting Debbie and James Puati, Global Volunteers Cook Islands Country Managers and Team Leaders, and teaching those darling barefoot children at Takitumu Elementary School, I was hooked! Memories of young Mary at the school, calling me her “queen”, warm my heart to this day!
My dominating thought that first month was … “what took me so long to jump on the volunteer bandwagon?” There is little in the world as rewarding as working with children and sharing what we have to give with others. I had been very active as a parent volunteer throughout my children’s school years and had no idea how much of a gap was left when that came to an end. I have much to give and look forward to many years of working with the angels that make up the Global Volunteer staff! Debbie and James were the perfect couple to introduce this new world of “Global Volunteering” to me. They are simply precious human beings the world needs more of!
Rarotonga was followed by meeting the inimitable Global Volunteers Volunteer Team Leader, Francoise Yohalem, in Hanoi, Vietnam, and the incomparable chance experience of being there for the city’s 1000 year birthday! Millions of people from all over Vietnam filled the hotels and streets of Hanoi for a week of fireworks, musical concerts and general celebratory functions! Several of the high school children, guided all of our Global Volunteers team members through the streets during the evening celebrations, all the while practicing their English language skills as we walked through the crowds!!
Working with Global Volunteers Volunteer Team Leader Milt Diehl in Hodmezovarsarhely, Hungary, was another memorable experience exploring small town through the eyes of high school students and our evening class of adult students alike!
Michaela and Dan Cirjontu, Global Volunteers Romania Country Managers and Team Leaders, and the precious little darlings at St. Nicholas Paediatric Hospital in Birlad, Romania followed and continued opening a heart that already felt full to bursting. There is something so beautiful about just holding these little ones and loving them. Nothing more, nothing less. It is enough.
My last service program as a Global Volunteer was in Quito, Ecuador, working with the affectionate little ones at two daycare centers, run by the Foundation of the Ladies of Calderón for impoverished children, who most certainly kept me on that path of the heart, as I have come to think of my volunteering experiences. I look forward so much to many more postings in the years to come. There is simply nothing quite like it!
-Seija Webb – 5 Time Volunteer