Yusuf, why are you wasting a year of your life volunteering in Poland?
This question I get asked a lot.
Let’s dive deep into the volunteering experience. Why you would pause your life to volunteer, and in my case leave the country?
Look, it all depends on who you are as a person and what you aspire to be.
I have always loved helping people. Ever since I was a child it gave me this fulfilling feeling knowing I helped someone finish a task, get better grades, take some weight off their shoulders, et cetera, out of the kindness of my heart.
Do I achieve something besides some good karma points? No, usually I don’t. However, I don’t do it to get something back anyways, and that is the essence of volunteering.
Doing something out of the kindness of your heart without expecting anything in return.
Look, as most of you reading this blog, I am fortunate enough to live in a good environment with a lot of opportunities. And this is amazing! It gives me the chance to become the best version of myself. However, not everyone is as fortunate as me, or you.
Some people need a helping hand. They need someone to give them a push in the back because without it, they will not get where they want to go. And that is in a way exactly what I am doing here in Poland. I am helping children in my own way to become the best versions of themselves. If I can make even one child laugh, learn a new word, spark some interest in them about a certain subject and they grow up to become a better person because of it, then I have fulfilled my task as a volunteer.
And don’t get me wrong, I am for sure also getting a lot in return for my volunteering work.
I wasn’t in the best place mentally before I came to Poland. Now I feel strong, focused, precise, determined, even aggressive to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. I assure you, dear reader, without this volunteering experience my mental health would have just gotten worse over time. I needed this break more than I have needed anything in my life.
I enjoy my days, I learn new things about a culture and country I could have never learned in a 10-day vacation or trip around the country. Shit, I can even say I’m Polish now. Without knowing the language, not really liking the food that much, but the sentiment stays.
I don’t know, it got a bit personal, but whatever, let’s stay true to ourselves.
So, to summarise a bit, and if you want to take advice from a 24-year-old. Here I go.
- I volunteer because it makes me feel good. It’s a selfish reason for a selfless act.
- I volunteer because I think we as humans owe each other this courtesy.
- I volunteer because the world needs some good in it.
Want me to get extra deep?
- I volunteer to try and work racism away in my own way.
A brown, Muslim, Turkish rooted guy from Belgium helping autistic children in Poland? If that doesn’t numb the children towards this disgusting thought, then I don’t know what will.
Here is my word of advice.
Don’t just go to work, school, home, hang out with friends and repeat.
Try to do some good in your daily life. You don’t have to go to a different country for a year, but that’s the showman in me, lmao.
Clean up some trash. When you’re walking, and you see something on the ground, pick it up and throw it away.
Point people out on their mistakes instead of gossiping or shaming them.
Be the good they need.
Go to an animal shelter and volunteer to take the dogs out for a walk. They don’t get any visitors, man, be compassionate.
Help someone with renovating their house.
Try to go out of your way to do some good in this world. Don’t be selfish, the world is already fucked because of climate change and the mass extinction going on. Shine some light on these dark days.
That’s it, no pictures.
C u next month xoxo Gossip Girl
Read my first blog post on ZAPmag here.