Four-time volunteer Gail Ferguson has volunteered each year on a service program since 2017 — first in Cuba, then in St. Lucia, Peru, and the Cook Islands. She writes about uncovering what’s important about meeting different people around the world, and why she hopes to connect through service again in 2021.
by Gail Ferguson
I so enjoy traveling – seeing the sights, experiencing something new, and possibly learning along the way. There’s so much to see and do in this treasured world. From the massive shorelines to the towering mountains, there’s so much beauty around us. Each landscape has its own unique identity and it beckons us to explore.
There is also so much to experience, from learning the history, to taking in the culture. Each area of the world is unique with much to offer. The architecture, the music, the language, the local arts and crafts, all has something to contribute to the experience. The food is also as unique as the location on the map. It would not be traveling for me if I were not able to enjoy the local cuisine and cultural favorites. The breads, the pastries, and the entrees, all add to the experience.
Connecting Through Service
But what I enjoy most about traveling is connecting with the people. When I return home, it isn’t the picture of the local landscape or even the picture of the magnificent plate of food that I treasure most. It is the pictures of the people that I have connected with, the locals, the children, and even the people that are there for the same reason as me, to experience the world.
“What I enjoy most about traveling is connecting with the people.”– Gail Ferguson
Global Volunteers offers us a unique opportunity to travel while having all these experiences, especially connecting through service with the people. I am often asked why I would spend some of my vacation time volunteering. It’s because I treasure the opportunities that Global Volunteers has given me to make these connections in Cuba, St. Lucia, Peru, and now in the Cook Islands.
Through the volunteer programs, I’m embedded in the community, often in the schools. There is no better way to see the world than through the eyes of the local children, and there is no better way to also leave a lasting impact than to touch a child’s life. It’s an impact made through connecting and sharing our worlds.
“There is no better way to see the world than through the eyes of the local children and there is no better way to also leave a lasting impact than to touch a child’s life. It’s an impact made through connecting and sharing our worlds.”– Gail Ferguson
Another unique opportunity Global Volunteers gives me is to connect with teammates in the group setting we get to experience. The volunteer teams are typically between 4 to 15 people, coming from all locations, all there for somewhat the same reason as you, to experience the world. I have found this group experience to be just as rewarding as connecting with the local people. We all have life stories of how we’ve gotten to this point in our lives, and the irony of us all coming together in this one location. I have built lifelong friendships in these groups, all adding to my connections across the world.
Global Volunteers keeps the world connected!
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