Friday, April 27, 2007

Chaotic Challenges

Amongst my findings of the article we are supposed to find and write about, I have truly been having problems finding something to strike my interest. It was beginning to get frusterating, because once I had found my article, it wasn't what I wanted and it made me upset because I had to settle. Then I realized that I hadn't met the requirement for the assignment. So, with time decreasing, I went and searched for another article, and after about an hour and a half, I found what I needed.

Boy I was discouraged, because I wanted to find something good, write my paper early, and not have to procrastinate. Although I had less time to write my paper, I was very thankful that I did find something else to write about. My new essay talks about a heater explosion fire in a home of the two surviving Afghan sisters and how they lost their family, as well as talked about the condition they were in.

I was very intrigued by this article, but I also wanted to find a story that I could connect with it. Since I give my time to help people I want to read about someone helping others as well. I feel that it's a very important thing to help people, when they are so desperate. These little girls were four and six, so with the tragic loss of their family members, the American volunteers stepped in and ran the burn clinic they had set up.

Here's the thought of the day:
"If you were helpless and stranded, wouldn't you want someone there that was capable of helping you in your time of need?..Well then why not show that same gratitude, and help out someone else in their time of need?"

Friday, April 20, 2007

So I went out and searched the web a little last night and today to find an article that I could use for Essay #2. It was difficult for me, because I couldn't find what I wanted or anything that satisfied me; however, after searching for quite some time, I found what I needed. I came across this blog that is called Volunteering In England. At first, I didn't honestly think I would be thrilled about it because my experiences are about that all over the place. Then I finally realized that up until last year, I hadn't been out of the country either to volunteer. I hope to gain alot of information from his blog as well as use it to compare to my experiences. I think that in some cases it could be similar, but since all of his work was done in England, I hope there is also a difference so I can see the barriers between the two. He has probably had to overcome certain obsticles and I can't wait to see if those obsticles are the same or different from mine.

Reading some of his blogs, I can tell their going to be interesting. I saw that in his current blog he talks about the tuition of students and how it should be lowered. I very much agree with that, but I just like the start that I see. Hopefully I can leave him a comment or vice versa and we can talk about our experiences.

It's amazing just how many people all over the world give back to the community and the places they've come from. I really like to see people help in any way they can. It is something that is close to my heart, volunteering, and I hope to help out a lot more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Around the World in 7 Days

Like all other trips I have taken, this one started out the same. I took the same procedures to prepare for this trip as I would any other. First I picked out everything I would need to wear for ten days. I picked out all the accessories that I would need, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and hair brush, etc. and packed all of that. Nothing electrical was allowed on the trip, which meant no curling irons, no electric shavers, no electrical anything. For most of us girls, it was a hardship to deal with. The emotional and mental trials I experienced on this trip have affected my lifestyle and have influenced me to become the person I am today.
I arrived at the church around 5:30 am with all the others going on the trip, and for some apparent reason, I was so awake. Maybe it was the realization that once again I would be in a place totally new to me, with different values and views in life than our group of people had. Also, the amount of work we’d have to do that week was on my mind as well. Of course, there’s also that feeling of backing out at the last moment because I would miss my boyfriend, my mother, and my friends. I then realized that I needed to go and do this, soI ended up going just like I always do. It was about 7:00 am when we arrived at the airport, and by 8:00 am, we were all through baggage and security just waiting on the plane to begin boarding.
Anticipating the week ahead, I calmly watched out the window of the plane as we flew across land that looked so awkward, because it looked like a bunch of squares connected by lines that you weren’t able to tell if they were people, cars, or trees. Then all of sudden, I knew we were almost to our destination because the plane itself started to thrust downward, and the bumpy air turbulence started to set it on my body. The plane smacked into the runway, as if we were in a car slamming on its breaks.

We made it safe and that was all that mattered to me. Soon after we landed, a bus came to the airport and took us to our camp site, where we would stay for the remainder of the week. My first reaction as I stepped outside was, “I’m in for a rude awakening, because I have never been exposed to mosquitoes this big, nor had I ever imagined just how hot it was there.
At this camp, there were probably 8-10 different youth groups helping out and another group that made up the crew that ran the camp itself. Every night at 7:00pm, there was a church service that we must attend. At this service, we described what happened that day at our sites and if we had special things occur as well. I mean we were physically building a house from pieces of pre-cut wood, and we had to build the foundation ourselves, paint the house, put on the roof, and attach windows, doors, and flooring.

I began to get scared by the middle of the week, because we were not making good progress and I did not think we would get to finish the project. Wednesday was the second to last day we had to work on the house. When our group arrived at the site, our whole roof was put on the house. It was like a prayer had been answered from the “big guy upstairs”.

The remaining tasks left us busy all day long. About five of our crew members grabbed one of the heavy tools called a hammer, and with arm-breaking force, we slammed those nails into the wood for the see through windows. We then applied the hinges for the doors by screwing in the bolts in a hard, circular motion into the wood. Also, we cleaned the house and started the job of taking brushes, rollers, and anything we could use to pain the house. We probably spent hour after hour rolling the brushes in the thick, chunky liquid and applying them towards the house. By 5:00pm, we were done and thankful to accomplish such big tasks in so little time!

When I first arrived to my work site, the little Mexican children were very skeptical as to whether they should talk to me, ignore me, or just run away. It was very sad to see them living in a hot, dry, clutters of trash pilled up everywhere, and very dusty environment. The family that I was assigned to lived in a one room house, with practically no roof, barely any food, no running water, and maybe only one or two complete outfits of clothing, which were covered head-to-toe in holes.

The ironic thing was they were the happiest people I had ever met in my entire life. The look in those people’s eyes as we were about to leave were so painful, because by the end of the week they didn’t want us to leave. I have never felt so wanted and appreciated until that moment. I didn’t want to leave those kids because they had made the highlight of my week.
This trip really changed me as a person, because I used to take everything for granted and complained when I did not have what I wanted. It was like a big cultural/reality check for me when I entered Reynosa, Mexico because I learned that you do not have to have everything to be happy and appreciative.
If I had to recommend this trip to someone, I would definitely do so. It is life rewarding to help someone without expecting anything in return and knowing that what you did made them really fortunate and happy. Spending time with people of different ethnicity and cultural background will make you realize just how good things are here in the United States and just how fortunate we should do.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's Not All Easy You Know

Not once have I ever thought that doing something such as volunteering would be hard, but sometimes it can get very challenging. Things go wrong all the time. Like for instance, since I am in Big Brothers Big Sisters(BBBS), I am alerted on all the upcoming events they plan. They are throwing a fundraiser called Bowl for Kid's Sake and my manager at my job is on the board for BBBS. For some reason she decides that she would make me team captain, as if my life isn't stressful enough with school and work on top of this. I just feel so overwhelmed at some points in my life, because I feel that I am pulled in thousands of different directions at once, and I don't know what should be on top, in the middle, or the bottom of my priority list. It will be worth it when it's all said and done, it's just a matter of getting to that point.

It's really hard dividing up your time as well to all those tasks you must perform. Since I am the captain of our team for the Bank, I must make sure our team raises $500.o0 by April 22nd, because that is our goal. Although I am very stressed out with my situation right now, this is probably one of the greatest functions BBBS does as an organization. We raise money for them to be able to do the activities they hold for the kids and their bigs. Just let me inform you, if your going to volunteer, make sure you have a lot of patience and a lot of time to handle situations so you not buggin out like I am. :)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Around The World

I chose to do this topic because it is such a big part of my life. It's what I have done for almost five years now, and it is a very big part of who I am. I know what it's like to grow up with not much, but never have I gone without. I plan to show how around the world people and countries still need help, as well as the help that is already being received. I also hope to influence at least one of my viewers to honestly think about helping out. It's very ironic, because I do not attend church at all, it may seem like that's what I am about, and being about that is not a bad thing, but I do feel that certain things in life are necessary. This type of enjoyment is a necessary for me.

In the past, I have noticed that there are lots of places in the world that still need help. People are still suffering in other countries and not getting the proper help that they need, so I decided to research today and find out who is helping out today amongst celebrities. They have the most money and power to help, so let's see who can actually be generous enough to lend a hand. Back on March 13, 2006, forty-four celebrities volunteered to help out the Red Cross organization by donating their time and energy for the cause. Among this list are Pierce Brosnan, Marcia Gay Harden, Sandra Oh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marcia Cross, Jacki Chan, Eli Manning, Aisha Tyler, Amy Grant, and Tommy Hilfiger. They join returning members including Cuba Gooding, Jr., Julianne Moore, Heidi Klum, Patti LaBelle, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, and Dakota Fanning.,1077,0_489_5214,00.html

I couldn't have imagined the amount of people who are famous and still have time to volunteer due to their careers. I also was happy to see that people like Oprah Winfrey help out as well. She recently just built a school in Africa to help out those less fortunate and those who couldn't afford to go to school. In the past, I would have to say that Oprah is probably the biggest contributor to charities around the world. She has organizations and foundations everywhere around the world.

I believe eventually we all will start to help out, it's just a matter of time.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Volunteering In Depth

In the past, I never thought that volunteering would be so influential in my life, nor did I realize just how life changing it could be. Volunteering has done wonders for my soul, as I have began to appreciate the things that I do have in life instead of focusing on the things that I don't. Going to other places and volunteering, really opened my eyes to what was really going on in today's world. I feel as if everyone, everywhere, should do some type of volunteering in the lifetime. It's a really good feeling to know that I helped someone free of charge, to see how much they appreciate what you have done, and to finally see that something you thought was little, actually went a long way.
I recently went to Reynosa, Mexico, and volunteering was the main component. I raised over $1000 to go to this trip and pay for the materials that we needed for the mission. Our goal was to build a one room house in 4 1/2 days, and we did complete it. In America, that would be almost impossible for us to live is, and we would be so unhappy. Their reaction was completely different that what I had expected. The family was crying, because they were happy that we had done such a thing, and were really appreciative. When we first got to Mexico, the family was really distant and so were the children because they were confused as to what we were doing there, but by the end of the week, they absolutely loved us and wanted us to stay. It was the most rewarding experience of my life, and I will never, ever, forget it.