What Does Volunteering Mean to Me?

In Finland I have done quite a lot of volunteering. I have worked for many organizations during the last few years, from giving company to lonely seniors to being the head of my student association at the University. However, working for a project like Deep Roots is something I have no experience with. 

The first volunteering job I did was in Missionary Church summer camp, where my job was to clean and fix the camp area. From there I learned about teamwork and organizational skills but I guess the most important thing that I learned was the nature of volunteering. Even though it might sound as a cliche, the key of being productive while working for something good is having an open mind and positive energy. After all, you’re working on your free will to achieve something for yourself and others. By the end of the Missionary Church volunteering season I was already searching for the next volunteering project I could join in my hometown. Volunteering seemed to be the right channel for me to give back to the community and it has been like that for me ever since. 

When I applied to the Deep Roots project I had some ideas how the volunteering would work out during the project. I had already done volunteering for several organizations and lived abroad in Eastern Europe. However, there were few things that worried me before the arrival but mostly there were three things that scared me the most: 11 other flatmates, new language with unfamiliar letters and organizing a festival. What if I don’t get along with these people or I get anxious because I don’t have my own space? What if I end up in a tough situation where no one speaks English and only Bulgarian? What if I’m of no use for the program? What can I do for the festival when I have no experience in organizing one? 

It has been two weeks now since I’ve arrived to Kazanlak and luckily all my fears have disappeared. Our group is effective, flexible and full of good spirit. It really is a privilege to have the chance to work with such great people. The Bulgarian language is hard but after learning the alphabet it has been much easier to read street names and find the right products in a supermarket. And although, I have no experience in marketing, promoting or designing I can use my other skills for the project and the festival. Creative thinking and organizing things are what I’m good at and I bet we are going to need those skills when the project goes forward. Once again I have woken up wondering and realizing the most important thing in volunteering: having an open mind and positive energy. After all, you’re working towards achieving something good for yourself and others. 

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