[Edited 19/05/2009 with excerpts from Steve’s post – I really recommend you read the whole thing for both as they provide some real insights into life as a volunteer.]
Tim Little and Steve Jackson have written fascinating posts on how the VSO experience has changed them. It’s an insight into some of the things you learn, and ways you grow as a volunteer, and it’s particularly interesting for me as someone at the beginning of the process (Tim and Steve are both nearing the end of their adventures). Some of my favourite bits are copied below for those who can’t be bothered clicking the link (I know you exist).
From Tim’s post:
“I feel happier about myself generally and more willing to believe that people like me. I feel I’ve coped with a challenge that many don’t even attempt and some who do fail at…”
“I’ve learned to let go and go with the flow, not to fight the unalterable. I hope I’m a bit more patient. I’ve also learned about myself. I’m not as tolerant as I thought, but I’m happy with the fact that there are people I actually dislike. I don’t need to like everyone, and it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with the other person…”
“I’ll miss the life, the chaos and the vibrancy of Ghana. The colours, smells and sounds that scream for your attention without subtlety or the gloss of marketing. But slowly that will fade, as will my righteous anger.”
From Steve’s post:
“For someone who has shed tears over my football team, I’m still a fan but I recognise both how unimportant it is and how little control I actually have…”
“Charity images of poverty porn for fundraising purposes don’t work on me anymore…”
“I care a little less about others’ views of me. Doing this had made me stronger and more independent – I am sure of that…”
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Inspired by Tim I also wrote on this subject:
Yip, it came through my RSS feed a short time ago. I’ll update the post with a few choice bits from yours and a link too.