Last Thursday, Voluntario Global gathered with a group of volunteers to reflect upon their time in Buenos Aires, thus far. Muffled sounds of rainfall and cheerful protestors, marching, or rather, dancing down Avenida de Mayo flooded the room as Voluntario Global founder, Valeria, asked the golden question: why do you choose to volunteer?
The mate made its way around the table while each volunteer shared her own unique experiences. Though the conversation may have surfaced through a varied mix of language, our thoughts remained universal. Despite the diversity among us, of both culture and passion, one particular answer, in some form or another, rang true for all. Why do we volunteer? Aside from the obvious gratification one finds through helping others, volunteer work may very well serve as the ultimate vehicle in providing, a sort of, ‘inside scoop’ on places where we might typically be considered outsiders— average tourists holding cameras, stuck behind a glaring lens.
As volunteers, we crave much more than a pretty photograph; we seek the true story behind it, as well as the chance to, if even for a moment, become part of that story. While the city of Buenos Aires certainly has no shortage in scenery, the most beautiful landmarks become meaningless without a stock of colorful people to surround it. Volunteering, whether at a kindergarten or a medical clinic, helps each of us gain an educated and enriched perspective on a culture outside of our own. And though some of us may already be moving on to new adventures, our time in Buenos Aires will always serve to remind us of the positive change that occurs, both in a community and within ourselves, when cultural barriers are broken.