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  • David Manzano

Volunteering Outta Volunteering

Hello beautiful people! I am David most known as Manzi, I am from the sunny Canary Islands and you are about to see another side of the volunteering project, are you ready? Let’s go.

After some time working, living and sharing most of my days with the same people and being the social person that I am, I was worried about losing some experiences here outside the volunteers.

One day, we all went to a museum and after finishing and while I was waiting for the others I had the opportunity to approach the owner and talk a little bit. He showed me some stuff that he was doing to improve the exhibition. It was a coincidence that at that time I was interested in the same topic and I needed help to learn more about that, so I told him anytime he needed help to let me know.

So he did, and I started to help him create the new part of the museum. Sometimes, some of the other volunteers joined me, sometimes it was just me. Every time there were some of his friends with us working so I got to know them.

It was really nice because what started being new for me became my comfort zone, and everytime I felt overwhelmed by spending time with the same people I would just go there to take some fresh air and have ‘’me time’’.

I wanted to help other people as well, because the feeling is amazing when, after being in those activities, people recognise you or ask for you. Locals are grateful, even inviting you to some drinks, food or events and it’s really satisfactory how much you are helping the community and feeling that you are surrounded by friends (and of course learning another type of romanian that your association is not teaching you haha) . I felt that I was writing a story that no one else of my other partners could relate to.

So here are some things that I have already done:

  • Creation of Dracula’s Investigation’s Museum

  • Creation and Organisation of Treasure Hunt for a Kids with Different Abilities Association

  • Creation of Medievalia Theme Park

  • Creation of Treasure Hunt for Medievalia Theme Park opening

You may say that is too much. How can you do it besides the AUM Association's Project?

Well, like the moon, everything has a dark side.

It wasn’t until I asked myself the exact same question, that I didn’t realize that I wasn’t enjoying my free time as I used to when everything started. Mostly, because my way of escaping from the routine became my routine, and when I had to do the activities for my association I was tired because I didn’t rest well, I was stressed about those other projects or I was feeling pressure from the people I was helping.

Added to the fact that I don’t know how to say no, this situation was a bad combination. And I got it when my

coordinators told us if we wanted to join a kindergarten activity, that is something I wanted to do but I was too tired and I had to help the others, and it was at that moment when I had to say no and ask myself: why do you HAVE TO HELP other people rather than enjoy the things you want to do?

I was at the point when I didn’t feel any satisfaction nor appreciation from them and due to the fact that I also felt that they were taking advantage of me being a volunteer, it was even worse for me.

What are the tips to avoid those kinds of issues or situations not to feel that way?

  • Feel comfortable doing what you are doing, if they ask you to do something and you don’t want to, feel free to speak your mind.

  • Saying NO doesn’t mean you are rude.

  • Rest, not only physically but mentally as well, do not overcharge yourself with other tasks more than the one you have to do for your association, you have to give your best to them

  • Set boundaries with those other people

  • Take time for yourself, enjoy your free days.

  • Listen to your needs, spending a free day doing absolutely nothing isn’t wrong if it is what you need.

  • If you need any help, please ask your coordinators or even your partners how to manage the situation the best way possible

  • Even if you are a volunteer you still are human.

My experience is not better than the others, it's just mine and the way I see it is amazing even if some situations are not that good, you can always learn from them and grow, be always thankful for what you got and always remember to write your own story, that’s what makes you unique.

Be different by being an inspiration.


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