Fraternal Love Journey in Africa. (Part II)

 

Fulfilling what was promised, we bring you the second part of the interview with volunteers Bruno and Zoe from Argentina, who have been in Kenya, Africa for a year and a half.

Previously, we learned what motivated this young couple to volunteer, the challenges they faced, how this experience changed their lives, and the cultural similarities and differences they encountered.

Nairobi, Kenia. Junio 28/2020. Hogar Familia Ya Ufariji.

With the vast experience that both have doing volunteer work, both in Argentina and abroad, we know that they have learned a lot and we could not stop asking them, what does it mean for them to be a volunteer?

“It is a lifestyle! Before we were also volunteers in other ways but living it as a lifestyle I think is super enriching … it helps us to be a little more deprived of superficial things and of ourselves to have a more focused look on those around us…” Zoe explains.

In the same way, she tells us that from her experience it is important to volunteer, from different spaces, either supporting an organization in her country of origin or doing international volunteering. “… Personally, I was a volunteer in a lot of areas, and I think that it is something that everyone should do, although not necessarily in this more radical way that we are living now with this lifestyle, but we should always have a moment that for free, we can donate to others, build together a better environment and a better future…”

For Bruno the act of volunteering is an opportunity to change the world through actions, and to understand that the responsibility does not fall entirely on governments but also on the common person.

“For me to be a volunteer is to believe that the world is changed by the common person, that we are the ones who walk the streets of the world … So I feel that people should stop criticizing politicians or the government and understand that we are also responsible for what happens in the world and how the world is. Nobody pays people who volunteer financially, but it is the conviction that makes you give your time, move your energy, your body, heart and mind to change this world, those grains of sand are changing the world for the better or making it a little less bad.

A message to future volunteers

Although new experiences are often scary and can paralyze us, that should not be a barrier to fulfilling a dream. “I would tell them not to be afraid, that there is nothing to be afraid of, that
at least in my case, going out is how you find yourself and giving is how you receive … the truth in all this of giving and sharing, I have found a lot, that there would have been no way to find life in my little world that I had before…”Expresses Zoe.

In this sense, it makes an invitation to leave the comfort zone in which many times one is accustomed to being, and from which it is necessary to leave to experience a true inner fullness

“… It is a challenge that brings a lot gratification and a lot of joy to the soul, especially that they are not afraid that the material things, even the people around us, are not as important as the love that one can give and the love that we can receive having this type of experience of  volunteering; above all, leaving our community, leaving our comfort zone, we can find a lot of happiness, a lot of inner fulfillment.

Deaf ears to negativism

Bruno tells us how people had greatly influenced his decision to visit Africa, and how they had tried to plant certain fears, which he could only silence by leaving Argentina.

“Unfortunately many people put fear in our heads, they speak badly of the world, how bad it is going to go if you go to this place or the other, and there is little encouragement and little belief in oneself … There is a phrase I really like from Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” Sharing a lot with people filled my soul. And it is not that you have to go very far, in front of your house, in the neighborhood club, the dining room or wherever; it is there where you will receive much more than you give, but you have to give with love and
without expecting anything in return.”

Finally, we ask them how long they will be in Kenya or if they want to travel to another place. Between nervous laughter they tell us that due to the expiration of their tourist visa they will not be able to stay as long as they had planned. “For our part, we would stay five more years, but things are complicated because our tourist visa ran out, we could not extend another … So we have little time to be here, but we learned that hope is the last thing that is lost,” says Bruno.

He also tells us that at the beginning they were very affected by facing the departure, but that they are not discouraged. “… I feel very good here, because we still have a lot to contribute, but I realized that I had given everything, every day I got up and gave all my love, everything I could give, so that led me to an interior peace…and that whatever has to happen, life will find us where we have to be”.

“Volunteering is a way of life, once you get involved, you want to continue much more and more. Volunteering is a one-way trip,” Zoe ends.