Volunteer Experience: Happiness in the Little Things

July 9, 2014 8:49 pm Published by

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger, Rachel Dow, recently returned from her second trip to JBFC, where she served as an intern.

When I reflect on my time at JBFC what stands out the most is the beauty of the simplicity of life.

 From breakfast in the morning to the quiet phrase that ends prayer time at night, there is a common theme of finding happiness in the little things.

I could see this idea in tasks that I performed every day as an intern at JBFC. After waking up in the morning I found it in the quiet and peaceful start of my day that involved a delicious breakfast prepared by the mamas and eaten on the guest house porch. Then, as the work day would start I noticed it in the manner that both volunteers and JBFC staff, international and local, utilized their surroundings and had a lack of necessity for extraneous items that have become intertwined in everyday life at home.

Later, as the work day would come to a close and free time with the girls began the true beauty in this simplicity emerged. It came out in the smiles on their faces as they played with the pop top on my water bottle, the use of small stones to retrieve mangos 20 feet in the air, and the ability to make beautiful and elaborate bracelets out of nothing but simple thread. Eventually as we moved into reading buddies, dinner, and prayer time I would see it in the joy a book could bring, the use of nothing but stones, firewood, and a large pot to cook rice, and the way that one song-leader’s voice turned into a beautiful song sung by nearly 50 people.

As I look back on all of these experiences I have begun to take notice of how truly different they are from most aspects of my daily routine at home. This has really led me to question many aspects of the way that we, as a society, live in “first world” countries. So many of the things that we have grown to rely on, and that I can honestly say I can’t imagine my life in America without, are completely superfluous at the end of the day.

I believe that my ability to reflect upon these ideas is truly a privilege, and is just one of the many examples of how JBFC helps volunteers just as much as volunteers help JBFC.

Rachel Dow, Tulsa, Ok, is a rising senior at Holland Hall High School and a JBFC Ambassador. She served as an intern this summer at JBFC, helping launch the Joseph & Mary Yearbook and lending her organizational skills to JBFC’s donation closet.

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This post was written by Mainsprings