Global Volunteers salutes Greg and Marcia Potvin, who have volunteered with us in Cuba, India, Peru, Tanzania, Romania and Ecuador on 7 service programs since 2007.
I have had the opportunity to work with children in Romania (Tutova), Ecuador, and India (twice). I have also taught English in Cuba and Peru and did construction in Tanzania. My wife, Marcia, and I travel and volunteer together and our first trip to Ecuador was undertaken after visiting with a friend who had been there before us.
Marcia and I choose projects based on our interests, which include a desire to experience varied cultures. I come from a large family, 8 sisters and 3 brothers – I am the eldest, and I enjoy large groups and collaborative work.
I am aware that many of the children that we encounter have little positive contact with males, so I see that as one of the things I have to offer.
Teaching – lower level especially – tends to be female dominated, so my involvement helps ameliorate some of the stereotypes. It is an amazing opportunity to get to know youth in an intimate way. On labor projects, I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing an accomplishment. On my first trip to India I worked on a library at SEAM Orphanage. On my return three years later I was able to tutor students in an atmosphere that was much more conducive to learning.
It was extremely gratifying. Interactions with the local workers is one of the best parts of any project. Although I seldom speak enough of the local language to comprehend, warm gestures and smiles ease much of my discomfort and seem to allow me to understand and be understood in limited fashion. Having to work hard in the area of understanding is a real adrenalin rush for me. Learning a bit of the local language is both satisfying and helpful. It seems that we always have a good time. The pace is slower, but this makes for more time to build relationships.
I love Global Volunteers and recommend it to anyone looking to enhance their life. You will be forever changed for the positive.
Greg and Marcia: We love you back!