Volunteer Spotlight: Cindy in Dominica
Thank you for being a nation with an overwhelming sense of happiness and love
My name is Cindy and I volunteered for All Hands and Hearts in Dominica for two months. I helped build a school/hurricane shelter in Paix Bouche. I am currently on sabbatical from a banking job. I chose to devote this year to service. With All Hands and Hearts, the application process was really easy. I just went to the website, filled out the application form and within 48 hours I was accepted into the program. I was sent a detailed e-mail with everything I needed to know and bring with me. Two weeks later I arrived.
Upon getting to the base house, I was greeted warmly and shown around. I put my belongings on my bunk and within the hour I was helping with plastering. The work was hard but no one complained. There was an atmosphere of giving and devoting our time to a bigger cause. We volunteers lived, worked and ate together. This created a family feeling. Within a couple of days, I was completely at home.
This sentiment was strengthened by the wonderful people of Paix Bouche. The local community welcomed us with open arms. Many visited the site and offered us cakes and words of support and gratitude, throughout the day, and on occasions joined us on site with cement pours and cleanups. People greeted us wherever we went. We also organized community events such as a basketball tournament and family fun day which were great fun for everyone.
I had recently become a certified yoga instructor. I had the idea to teach yoga before going to the work site, we had a 6 am start, on the roof the view of the mountains. The volunteers would donate a small fee for each class attended and all the funds raised went to All Hands and Hearts for the school. It was a great to practice teaching and raise money for the project.
I stayed for two months. Although the work was challenging, the toughest part was saying goodbye to the volunteers that left before me. I made great friends while in Dominica. When I left it was with a heavy heart. I’ll forever be thankful for this experience, and the time I got to spend on this magical island. It’s hard to describe the feeling you end up walking away with, but leaving somewhere when you have an attachment to a place, kind of just feels like your leaving home, and you know you’ll return, which makes it slightly easier. To the people of Dominica, thank you for being a nation with an overwhelming sense of happiness and love, you’ve brought me to a place of direction and contentment in my life. To the people of Paix Bouche, and the volunteers who’ve built this incredible school, to see the smiles on the children’s faces, and to know the community can now count on this being a safe space for them to be, fills my heart with warmth, it’s been a pleasure.
Thank you All Hands and Hearts, for making it possible for me to make a difference. I am looking forward to volunteering again soon.