I’m starting this year with quite a bit of work; luckily, work that I enjoy. A new project. A lovely challenge. A new life. The excitement is almost the same as four months ago when, all of a sudden, everything fell into place. Maybe that is why today I remembered my first day. And yes, I have travelled, for a moment, back to the times when I was mid-way between being an adolescent and adult life. With a rucksack on my back, I started my first trip to try and make the youngest ones in the village happy. Back then I was unaware that the enthusiasm of getting started would be with me for the rest of my days. To such an extent that, enthusiasm would stay even when my rucksack said enough is enough. Or maybe I’d had enough of my rucksack; next to my bed, resting, just for some days. In fact, I didn’t really want to stop belonging to that half-world that is so essential for the other half to live better. That’s what volunteers are like.
Volunteers, those people who don’t make much noise. Usually. People who aren’t given awards; neither do they need them, to be honest. Their life style is in another place; less stable, perhaps, but far more genuine. We walk along the track leading you to live the present intensely, searching for a better future for others. Without looking for anything in exchange. I’d dare say, even without being fully aware. In doing this, by volunteering, they change their way of being and, at the same time, they modulate their way of doing things. Their dictionaries are bursting with words like authenticity, engagement and commitment. You won’t find the definition of doing something in exchange for taking some time to help people closest to you; neither those living farthest away. You do it for pure pleasure, nothing more. Long are the days when the words linked to complaints and curses for having to roll up your sleeves and start writing an improved version of the text. With no meanings. Quite naturally. This is how they transform the silence of their gestures into cries of hope in a world that is starting to doubt its values and, who know, maybe also fear its ideals.
Some people will get started at the crack of dawn; other will end the day late after sunset. Some will participate every day, some quite often, and other may only collaborate occasionally. In their Neighbourhood, their city, somewhere far away…who cares. There are so many faces to volunteering as ways about it, and therefore there are no excuses; another word that no longer has a place in their own personal dictionary. That book that everyone should be able to take with them every day and check again and again. Just like they do. Also to find their reasoning when someone dares questioning the engagement of young people with today’s society. They are so committed; full of knowledge and engagement. They smile. The enthusiasm of getting started is still alive; that’s what volunteers are like.