The Philippines – What are volunteers learning in mission lands?

26 November 2019

(ANS – Cebu City) – Mrs. Christine Umpad is a former SALVO (Salesian Lay Volunteers) volunteer in Cambodia. Here she shares what she has learned through this experience.

How was your brief volunteer experience in Cambodia?

My volunteering experience is a dream come true for me. I always had dreamed of volunteering in a foreign land to somehow return and share the favours I’ve received from the Salesians who’ve helped me in the past and the present. It was very fulfilling for me as a Bosconian and teacher.

What was one of the greatest joys of the experience?

My joy of volunteering lies in the smile of my tutees, my friends and the people I met during my stay. I am truly happy when my tutees learn something new during our study time. And most of all when I see that I have made new friends despite the language barrier.

What was the one of the biggest challenges of the experience?

Language had somehow hampered my volunteering experience. It’s really difficult at times to communicate with some students. There are times when you wanted to talk with the other locals but it’s kind of frustrating since I could not explain something to them well enough. But so far, I do enjoy the challenge!

What did you learn from your experience?

Maybe my greatest learning is to be flexible at all times. There are times when you need to adjust from one thing to another. This really had taught me to be adaptable to any situation.

How has this experience impacted your life journey?

The month-long experience left footprints in my heart. As a teacher, I learned to appreciate my students and their background. I have understood that students have different origins that may have influenced their behavior in school. As a daughter, I have valued my family even more when knowing that some students can only meet their families a few times every year. As a person, I felt very blessed to have experienced this journey.

What does Don Bosco mean to you after this experience?

Don Bosco means extending yourself for others. It’s like offering your ear to listen, your hand to help others. As a Bosconian for more than a decade already, I believe that anyone can become the Don Bosco of today! All you need is a heart for others. Surely, doing something good can go a long way.

What can the message of Don Bosco offer the world today?

Don Bosco’s dream at 9 is a relevant message for the world today! Caring for others doesn’t require supernatural powers; all you need is to be yourself, with the guidance of Jesus and Mary.

Source: AustraLasia


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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