Tuy Hoa Travel Blog› entry 22 of 26 › view all entries
It's the last night of my volunteer work here in Vietnam. How did I do? Did I make a difference? Was it worth it to anyone for me to be here? I gave out clothing. Does that matter? It wasn't enough clothing for every child. It didn't satisfy every need. Little boys and girls still came up to me puppy eyed after class begging for more. There was no greed in there faces, simply desperation.
I was here for a month. What's a month? I had enough time to acclimate to the environment. To adjust to the heat, the water, the food. To learn basic Vietnamese, bartering 101, and pick up souvenirs.
You want to see the problem. Come for a month. You want to help fix the problem? Stay. One month will give you an understanding of the demands of the program; you'll begin prioritization of duties; you'll formulate an opinion of the placements; you'll start to see what can be done to satisfy the needs of the children. But just as you feel capable of making that difference, you know the one you wanted to make by volunteering, well just when you think you know what it means to begin the long process of making that difference, you'll be saying your good byes. Handing out clothing and pencils to eager faces, grateful faces, needy faces wanting more.
When have you done enough? When does it end? Was it enough? Was it anything? Do you cry about those in need? Do you smile for those you've lifted? Do you sigh over goodbyes too short? Relationships not quite formed? What does it mean to have so many questions?