Global Volunteers salutes Roger Rowley. Roger has served on 5 Global Volunteers service programs since 1991: Java (Indonesia), Vietnam, the Cook Islands, Tanzania and Romania.
“My experience with Global Volunteers came after a void of personal involvement in the world after twenty years in a confining business ownership. In my prior field of international customer service, I had experienced close relationships working hand-in-hand with others in Germany, Brazil, Africa and throughout the USA. In an attempt to renew world travel, I found myself outside looking in without any personal connection.
Cilacop, Java enchanted me to rebuild school rooms from tropical decay for Father Charlie, a Catholic priest. It seemed as far away from Michigan as my imagination could get me. Global Volunteers provided the vehicle to sow the seeds in my desire to repay a world in need without a sectarian affiliation or label. Since Java, I have found fulfillment in Vietnam, Cook Islands, Tanzania and Romania.
In Vietnam I realized Vietnam is a country, not a war. There people looked to the future, not the past. In 1994, the English language meant a lot to come out of Russian domination. History has given war-torn nations, grieving widows and orphans an opportunity rebuild in a better way – we can help the process.
In Tanzania, I was one dwarf with seven Snow White Volunteers. It worked well hauling the mud bricks to build a new dorm but some of the ladies bettered me.
In Romania, two lady Global Volunteers gave their hearts and love to disabled, sometimes abandoned, children who were hospitalized. I went to the school and taught conversational English to the 7th grade students. As the lone male/fatherly figure, it seemed extremely important to surrogate students who were missing fathers, many of whom were working elsewhere in Europe. I feel a vast majority of males in developing countries are providers. This typically puts them far away from family matters.
My inept English teaching skills seemed not to matter as bonds were formed. My volunteer role also conveyed that teaching is not “women’s work”. To witness a fledgling republic after the Eastern Block gives a better understanding of what was.
I look back in thanks for such opportunities to give but realize I received more than I gave. “