Experience, Opinion

About volunteering

I’d like everyone to consider this. Have you ever been out and about? Going on about your day. Maybe deep in thought. Maybe deep in the speed of things we do sometimes? And then you pass a stranger, and they smile at you? Have you felt the warmth? The connection, it can create? The vortex of a wind of thoughts? It breaks up your day nicely, and it might even put a smile on your face!

A saying of the Prophet Mohammad conveys, that even a smile is charity. I’ve participated in different volunteering work, and it always puts a smile on my face. In 2015, I quit my job in London to take a writing break. First thing I did was to go and volunteer in Nepal. It was just after the big earthquake in April. When I arrived in Kathmandu, there were traces everywhere. At the same time, I saw people working on the destruction and helping each other out. My first stop was an orphanage in Kathamandu – Muskan Sewa. It really is like a big family. When I was there, there were around 14 kids. I was playing with them and helping them with homework. The amount of times, those kids put a smile on my face, by just being their awesome selves. I stopped counting!

When I was back in London after a month, I wanted to carry on with volunteering. Not full-time, but commit at least a bit of my time to help someone. I came across an organisation called “Love to Learn”. They help kids with a refugee background with school. You’re teaching the kids English or you’re helping them with school in general. It was quite funny to read Shakespeare with a boy who’s considered an English native speaker, when you’re only fluent and trying to explain to him, what things meant!

On Saturday, we went to the Communal Kitchen in Kansas City to help out for two hours. We prepared breakfast trays and learned about the work they do in that kitchen. We can all agree that there are way too many homeless people in this country. The Communal Kitchen gets food donated by places like Wholefoods and feeds people in need. They always need volunteers to chop veg, give food out and clean utensils. It’s really the easiest way of committing as much time, as you’re willing to give, to a good cause without having to commit long-term. Kenny welcomed us and made us feel so comfortable. The most important message to him, was, that no matter how they look, how they smell or what their story was, the homeless are only human like you and I. Often enough, we forget that.

There are different ways of volunteering. If only a smile can make us feel awesome – maybe on a bad day, where this smile turned it around and made it for us – what difference could it make, if all of us gifted some time to other people? Even if it’s just a little smile, it can go a long way!

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