Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Volunteering abroad during the Easter holiday
“Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless.” ~Charles M. Crowe. Easter is considered as one of those times of the year when giving to the less fortunate is seen as the best spiritual sacrifice one can make, mainly for those who believe that it is a time when you should give up something of value to you, for the benefit of others. For a volunteer this is most likely their time or expertise. It is easier for someone to volunteer during the holidays like Easter because time off is already available to both student volunteers and working volunteers.
It is never easy being away from your family during the holidays, but you can do a lot of good through volunteering. One way to achieve this is going to the nearest local church and talking to the priest, see if you can get involved in any of the Easter preparations in the church, like working with any youth or children who are involved in the Easter play or working to put together a program where you receive goods and donations for the less fortunate in the society, through the church. You can also help by offering to clean the church or make preparations for the Easter services. This will help you keep busy during the holiday.
Another way to volunteer abroad, during this festive season is to volunteer in the local hospital, maybe in the children’s ward, you can work with any other volunteers or anyone in a situation to help, to put together an Easter goody bag for the children, especially the orphaned or neglected children in the ward who have e no family to visit them during this period. If you wish to volunteer in the hospital and not work with children, you could also read to the older patients or help out the nursing staff wherever they may need your help.
As a volunteer during what is mainly considered a religious holiday you need to be able to keep your secular and religious celebrations during this period separate, many parts of the world have Easter festivals and celebrations that have become a culture, due to the fact that they have been practiced for several years. If you are a volunteer in such a place then getting involved in such festivals will help you appreciate the local cultures, and it can work as a bonding experience between you and some of the local volunteers you are working alongside.
Being in a foreign country, it is sometimes difficult to celebrate holidays. During Easter, you could be in a country that is predominantly Muslim or Hindu, or Buddhist. In these places they wouldn’t celebrate Easter. If you are keen on celebrating the holiday, the volunteer could organize to meet with other foreigners, expats and travelers who appreciate the holiday. When they are together, they could host a party, lay out Easter eggs and have Easter bunnies.
Sacrificing your holiday can be very fulfilling you may lose some relaxation time but as I said earlier, Easter is the time to appreciate the ultimate sacrifice, where you decide to give away what is of value to you for the benefit of others, you do not have to sacrifice your entire holiday, a day or two in a nursing home or a children’s home will help a few unfortunate people also enjoy the holiday.