The other side of the moon – by Miruna Stefana Belea, 18 years old, student at Ienachita Vacarescu National College, Targoviste
When I first entered the flat, I was in one of my weary moods, and the only things I noticed were the pale-pink walls and the foot-worn,threadbare carpet. Besides the displeasure of being troubled out of my tepid sluggishness, a faint feeling of discomfort overcame me as I wondered how the orphan children would react to the alms we had brought them. Will they feel humiliated, resigned to their destiny, or just…? But their reaction was totally unexpected. They welcomed us as if we were their best friends and received our gifts so naturally that I felt I was actually the one humiliated by my own small-mindedness.
What did you bring us? Fruit, soap, hats and dolls! one of them cried with excitement.
And books? Sorry, we can’t read another said with a sigh.
I looked at them curiously, in disbelief.
Not even you?I asked one that seemed to be the same age as I was.
No, she replied.
Alright, then I will teach you, I announced them with a light-heartedness that came as a surprise even to myself.
This is how I involuntarily became a volunteer. Taken along on an errand of mercy by my Geography teacher to take some presents our high-school had bought for orphan children, sometime before last Easter. It was then when, pleasantly impressed by the children’s delicacy, I offered, on the spur of the moment, to teach them how to read.I didn’t have any experience in volunteering or any precise intention of getting involved in such an activity. But I sympathized with them and that was enough to get me going.
Therefore, I find volunteering, if not a spontaneous act of selflessness, something that comes from the heart, and not an honourable activity that looks good in one’s CV. You need not even desire to change the world, insofar as in most of the cases you could get easily disheartened by a lack of immediate success. Instead, one should be aware that great satisfactions derive from small things-in my case, the children’s constant desire to learn. Their progress throughout the lessons gave the lie to all those who said that I was wasting my time, especially with those worthless Roma people.
Another important benefit is that volunteering may become a way to express oneself at an age when rebellion against society’s wrongness irrupts in a teenager’s consciousness. Converted into this act of volunteering, my discontent at the general indifference to the orphans educational needs and to the disadvantaged groups often deprived of equal chances with the majority resulted in a constructive decision.
Had I not decided to get involved, all by myself, I would never have discovered all these things. As far as I know, there is a side of the moon that cannot be seen from Earth. In order to see it, one must imagine and chart it by oneself. In order to map it out, one can discover its paths only by helping others.
Acest eseu este castigatorul premiului special in cadrul 2011 Shakespeare School Essay Competition, grupa de varsta 15-19 ani, avand ca tema rolul si importanta voluntariatului.. Premiul a constat intr-un cadou surpriza din partea librariei Carturesti, o carte in limba engleza din seria penguin, de la Fischer International, voucher de reducere 25% la un curs de vara de limba engleza la Shakespeare School, discount card oferit de Puma, cadou din partea Reprezentantei Comisiei Europene in Romania. Dorim sa o felicitam pe Miruna pentru faptul ca s-a evidentiat din peste 5100 de eseuri trimise la concursul national de creatie in limba engleza organizat de Shakespeare School si ii uram mult succes in continuare!