Volunteering On 2 Wheels
Written by Denis Moynihan
Being drawn to the open road is an affliction which I’ve suffered from for a number of years. I’ve often spent my summers on the move, spending only short periods in one location before moving on. It was a bit different last summer; stopping in one location for two weeks was the best part of summer 2017.
After a good number of years spent on school boards of management and various roles within my union, I decided it was time to take a step back to more practical voluntary activities. I didn’t want to spend a fortune paying for my voluntary activity so I was delighted when I came across a volunteer project on VSI’s website that interested me, in a place I wanted to go, at a time I wanted to be there.
So it was that I ended up in Serbia, along with other international volunteers, engaging with local teenagers in refurbishing old bicycles for community use. The Rustyn people, originally from what is now Slovakia had moved to Ruski Krstur about 250 years ago when the whole area was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
We spent two weeks in the community whose welcome was as warm as the summer weather. Travelling abroad to volunteer during the summer holidays had the added benefit of more predictable weather than at home. Getting away from the hum drum of day to day routine and getting a bit outside ones comfort zone brings out the best in people.
The experiences are really motivating and make you realise that there is so much more that unites us than divides us as nations and individuals.
I should have done this years ago. Roll on next summer!