Volunteer Ruth Curran reflects on sharing her experiences as a volunteer in Africa with her friends and family at home, and how difficult it can be to do justice to the depth of those experiences.
As A Volunteer in Africa
After serving as a Global Volunteer in Africa, Ruth writes about how to tell that story. She’s hesitant because she fears people may be uncomfortable with some of her experiences, and in disbelief about others. When thinking of the promise she saw in Tanzania, she writes:
“I bet, however, that you will write that all that off as idealism or the romance of the moment in hindsight or the view from the other side of my rose colored glasses or the perspective from my glass overflowing take on life. I know that. I appreciate that. I respect that position.”
She says of Tanzanians with whom she worked:
“These people allowed me to think in ways that I did not even know I could. I came out not just changed by the experience this time but a better thinker – a multidimensional thinker – because of these three and a half weeks.”
Ruth is an author, writer, and speaker who first came in contact with Michele Gran, Global Volunteers’ co-founder and CEO, when she was doing research for a book about brain health and the brain benefits of travel and living a purposeful life. Ruth is a Master of Science with more than 28 years of experience as a business development executive, strategist, and organizational behaviorist. After learning about Global Volunteers through her research, she served as a volunteer in the Caribbean (St. Lucia) in 2015. She joined the Reaching Children’s Potential Advisory Committee that same year. Since then, Ruth has served as a volunteer in Africa (Tanzania) on two service programs and is registered for a third in Tanzania in July 2018. Due to her commitment to Global Volunteers’ work around the world, in 2017 Ruth joined the Global Volunteers staff team as our Director of Partnerships and Collaborations, managing our educational and institutional partnerships.
Her blog post explores her day-to-day experiences in Ipalamwa, Tanzania as a volunteer in Africa and how she finds it so difficult to capture the feelings and wonderment she experienced while there.
“I don’t believe I even know how to tell you about how a magnificent 13-year-old young woman who, without even realizing, gracefully shined a light in the darkness and changed the tone – created a moment of safety and sanity in a world that held neither – for another young girl whose life, experience, and existence held so little hope.”