By: Saul Olvera
-There is no way that I introduce myself without people asking: Why do you volunteer in Europe, if you are from México?-
Hello, my name is Saúl Olvera and I’m volunteering at Die Bäckerei Kulturbackstube, a cultural organization/open house which provides spaces, tools and networking to those who want to develop an idea, project or an event itself. I’m from México and I used to work in the Federal Government of my country, in the Ministry of Culture. One of the main reasons that I decided to volunteer and dared to leave my current-way-of-living, is learning. I’m quite aware that there are many ways of learning, but I’m referring about non-formal education and self-learning.
Since I arrived, 3 months ago, there is no way that I introduce myself without people asking: Why do you volunteer in Europe, if you are from México? This question is funny because for sure it’s on our minds one way or another, probably because we relate this activity to the “fact” that support and help belongs only to international organizations like Red Cross or Caritas, that provide to the world communities the proper care to those countries or areas that are in trouble or in economical disadvantages.
Also there’s the thinking that volunteering is an activity that you can only do if you are very stable economically speaking, because you give your full time for charity and you wont be able to live without any income unless you have high-level savings.
Nevertheless, all of this is not one hundred percent true. It always depends on the point of view. And that’s something amazing: trying to see the world, the whole things that happens in it on a different point of view. For example, why not to think that volunteering is not only giving, but volunteering is mostly receiving. You receive experience, affection, smiles, opportunities, fresh and different point of views, friendship, good moments that for sure will last for ever, and the list can continue.
Therefor, thus is the way now how I want to explain my EVS (European Voluntary Service): it doesn’t matter from where the volunteer is, or the economic situation of its country, or itself. It’s matter of possibilities, exchange of ideas, culture, stimuli and overall: trigger learning.