Reasons Why

26 Apr

I kind of realized that I might gave this series of blogs a wrong start. If you are reflecting on a volunteer experience why not start in the beginning: Why did you go in the first place? Some of you already wrote about this, but here is what I think are my reasons:

Before I left to Guatemala I dropped out of university. I hated what I studied, didn’t know what to do and it didn’t took long before I gave up my (boring) job at an event management company to leave Europe to do some voluntary work.

If I’m really honest, I think I went to Guatemala to leave all the problems at home behind for a while. I didn’t go to help people, I went to help myself. It was sort of an attempt to sort my life out, to place myself out of the context of normal life in order to try to find a new direction. It worked: I think I did got a better understanding of the world, a better understanding of myself, and I’m back in university, so a new direction in the end.

Satisfying a selfish need by an unselfish act. Is there anything wrong with mutual benefit? I think there are always more reasons why you do things. If I would not have enjoyed teaching english then I would have quit. The reason why I left Holland was not the same as the reason why I went to my little english school everyday. While being abroad I didn’t thought about my life back home at all, it fell into place only when I returned.

And now I’m back and I wonder what happened to the kids I taught? I look back on it as a fantastic experience, but I can only hope that I really taught this kids something that will help them create a better future.

PS: When writing, I realized that I didn’t only taught the kids english, but I also implicitly taught them something about social hierarchies. Just by being there, I taught them (and learned myself) about an unfair world in which there are young people from far away who have the money to do nothing for a while and come over to teach them. I don’t know if I like that, but yeah they were bound to find out anyways.

The picture below shows one of the kids I taught. They were all very fond of our mobile phones, willing to pictures all the time. Never thought about it that way, but in some way I was an ambassador of the capitalist dream 🙂


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