Written by: Badr – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: April 5, 2015
The idea of becoming a volunteer has been in my mind for a long time. I had this idea because of the volunteers and the travelers who told me about their voluntary experiences in different countries. Then I started to realize that my community needs such noble actions.
Since then I’ve been impacted looking for a seat with an organization that works on environmental or social issues. I see it shameful and frustrating when I see my city totally covered in trash, even facing a trash crisis with tons of uncollected garbage, without any practical and simple ideas to handle it.
Unexpectedly, that makes sense to me when I discover that a small village, of twenty houses couldn’t manage their trash, let alone a city its population more than four million. For instance, I wonder why rather than develop and generalize the old fashioned practice to collect garbage at cities, but instead pay a man with his own van and trash bin, to move through neighborhoods, separating plastics, cartoons, cans, bottles, substances. We can change the whole system into a so-called modern one. A lot of people might ask why I want to offer my time and efforts and what I would gain? I would like to change this question to what makes me think this way.
Humans always evolve by different ways, one of them is through others. For me, evolution is a reciprocal process: by indulging myself in the help of others actually I’ll be helping myself. I understand the world around me by understanding the others. On the other hand, sometimes it could be difficult to explain to someone why I want to do voluntary work. Simply, it’s the way I am. But how did I become this way? Why is anyone the way the are? That’s kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese?
I‘m a man who is passionate about touring by bicycle, who gets bored easily if I do only one thing. I always want a change, whether where I am or the way I do things. Traveling by bike makes my life interesting, especially when I’m roaming around a region, crossing from village to another. Making my eyes and soul full of the beauty of sceneries and landscapes, meeting new people who think differently than I do, listening to their stories, and trying to figure out why they think this way, not that way. Human being are curious to know the stories and news of others. There are those who sit in front of a screen watching events move in front of him mixed up with sounds and affects, rather than move and interact with events. The human inner curiosity leads him to follow sequences of TV show while my inner curiosity led me to live a vivid story and create my own show, with myself as a main character. “Be the HERO or you’ll feel as you are in the zero”.
This eagerness lead me to cycle alongside Morocco, Mauritanian, and Senegal without getting bored: “crossing miles looking for the smiles.” Enjoying, not enduring like the majority of people think when they see a man riding a heavy bike full of luggage.
“Are you traveling alone?” This is one of the most frequent questions I was asked.
“No, I always meet sweet and cheerful people like YOU with a hope the following day, to meet up again,” was my answer Villagers are my guides and they direct me to see amazing places around their villages, listening to their dreams, their prejudices about other tribes, with a warning sense.
Every new day of cycling, I passed throughout new landscapes and people whose features don’t look like the ones of yesterday.
“We are generous, honest, there is nothing to be afraid of here, but you need to be very careful if u are still cycling ahead, they are bla bla blaa.” Almost whenever I set up my tent for a night I hear the same speech.
Throughout my cycle tours, I cycled unexpectedly across astonishing places, with water springs, fertile lands, sun, veggies, fruits… Locals expressed their dissatisfaction and discomfort. I think an outsider can bring to such places new ideas; a new way of seeing things that villager can use to meet their needs.
To be a volunteer is an opportunity that will enable me do the task that I always wanted to do, but this time in a structured way. CorpsAfrica’s idea to recruit a volunteer to move to high-poverty communities and initiate projects that can be a solution to poverty is a step and an opportunity for youth to raise their awareness of national pride, and to help the country to move forward. I believe that nations can stand up and evolve by their own citizens, who can carry the dream of change and pass it to the next generations. Let’s make volunteering a habit and entrench it in our society. Let’s be a way to follow.
What do you think? Join the development debate!