My first adventure with Global Volunteers came in the spring of 1999 when I went with a group of college alums to Ostuni, Italy to teach conversational English in the schools there. I experienced the freedom to let Domenica, the first grade English teacher, use me as she wished. The joy of being in one community experiencing their culture is a big part of why I’ve signed up again and again. This beats sightseeing anytime.
My husband and I decided that our high school graduation gifts to our grandchildren would be Global Volunteer trips. Noah, the oldest, said, “Nana, why Poland?” I replied, “Because we want to spend two weeks in a place we’ve never been before learning about that culture.” Zakopane is a beautiful city nestled in the Tatra Mountains of southern Poland. Our time there was spent getting to know some wonderful bright high school students. Noah, six years later, still communicates with friends he met there.
I’ve enjoyed two trips to Ammoudara, Crete with three different granddaughters. Working and playing with the children at the Day Camp School, teaching them kick ball or learning Greek expressions from them, are still vivid memories. The pleasure of watching one’s grandkids acting mature and capable with the children as well as other adult volunteers and staff, is also a delight.
A large part of my love and joy of the Global Volunteer organization is its philosophy of service. I am a servant learner. I am not in charge. I am free to soak up the local community and make myself available and useful for whatever comes along.
Tommy Haas – 4 time volunteer