It might sound easy to be a volunteer. No salary, no responsibility. Going to a country far away, taking it easy for a couple of months. Looking around, getting new experiences.
Sure, it can be like that. But it’s also tough. Tough to realize your limitations, Tough not to be able to live up to the expectations, tough to have to give up.
I did that yesterday.
The idea was that we would start teaching English to two new groups in the mountain villages Muyuyacu and La Florida. That means 12 hours of classes per week, in total. Okay, it would have worked as long as Sandy is here. But when she goes back to the USA in two months, I would be running all this by myself.
I panicked at the thought.
I have no experience of teaching. None whatsoever. English is not my mother tongue, and I haven’t studied the language since I was 15 years old. I can hardly communicate in Spanish. In sohrt: I’m a lousy English teacher.
Besides that, teaching is not my only task here. I am also supposed to write this blog, translate the Banana Tours, contact travel agencies to market the Banana Tour, and work with renewing the Asoguabo’s web pages.
I drew the conclusion that all this is too much for me.
It was extremely tough. I’m not used to admitting to myself that I can’t do something. After all, I’m here as a volunteer, to help the co-op with whatever they need help with. And now I’m saying no. Refusing to do what they’re asking of me. In short: failing completely.
But that’s one of the experiences you get as a volunteer. Discovering how you react in new situations. Discovering new sides of yourself. Realizing your limitations.
When I go back home, I want to be able to look back on a time full of new experiences and nice memories.
Not look back on eight months full of stress, far away from my loved ones.