Things Lithuanians could learn from Irish: volunteering

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My two favorite posts in Jussi's blog Everything is Mossible are here and here. Outsider stories I call them.

Outsiders are apt to compare new homes to their previous ones. Comparison is inevitable. They look for drawbacks and assets. They scrutinize people, quality of life, prices, food, cultural scene, weather, etc.

When I started writing the blog I thought I would do more of it, yet I came to realize that constant comparison can start look like whining. I have to admit that complaining is possibly one of the side-effects of Post-Soviet Eastern European behavior. Yet I pledge I am trying my best to fight this bug (quite often without any success whatsoever). However this time I would like to mention something I would miss if I was to leave Dublin tomorrow.

As I have revealed before, this weekend I volunteered in the Festival of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire. We were sitting in Kingston Hotel on Sunday night with Grace and I found out that she came from Galway to volunteer. Aside from giving up her time to whatever might be in need of doing during the festival she was staying in a hotel and paying 85 Euro for every night. Bless her! Grace explained she's doing a course in hospitality and she thought this experience might be useful.

I don't think I've heard about anybody else like Grace, but there were about 300 volunteers of all ages and nationalities in total. Naturally the organizers did save quite a bit of cash. It is easy to make a basic calculation. Let's say every volunteer is working for about 4 hours on average (altough some worked for 10, i.e. I worked for about 8). If they were paid (let's say the minimum wage), it would turn out to be

300 x 4 x 8.65 = 10 380 Euro

Although we did get T-shirts, goodie bags, drink tokens and very generous free lunch (of which actually quite a few volunteers were not aware), organizers obviously have saved quite a bit. But despite this fact I was stunned by the amount of people who offer their spare time for carrying chairs, disassembling tables, hoovering carpets, etc. People of my and my granny's age. Girls and guys too. We're having a wrap up party on Wednesday and more free treats. What could be better?!

Volunteering is still uncommon in my country and this is one of the things we could learn from Irish. I promise to mention more! The sky is the limit.

This Post has 4 Comments Add your own!
Primal Sneeze - August 28, 2007 at 5:26 AM

Jussi's 'little differences' is how I came to his blog too. They had me in knots laughing.

Yes, most folks here volunteer in one way or another. Be it with the local Tidy Towns, a charity or simply just dropping by to check on an elderly neighbour.

Some don't even realise they are volunteering: I've heard people say things like I cut the grass for Mick once a week - he's not able anymore or we run a bit of a golf classic in May for cancer - it's great craic or I clean up the river now and again - so it's safe for the kids to play there. I hope this is something we never lose.

Bock the Robber - August 29, 2007 at 12:52 AM

We don't all volunteer, though.

Most of us cut the grass for our neighbours or help in some way, but others are a bit more selfish. Some of us leave our rubbish in neatly-tied bags on the footpath for somebody else to worry about.

And I'm afraid some people from other countries do the same thing.

However, it would be nice if our Lithuanian and Polish residents made more efforts to make friends with us. We're not too bad, really.

I don't like to feel ignored in my own country, as often seems to happen.

Lina - August 30, 2007 at 12:11 AM

Bock the robber, I'll try not to ignore you :)

Primal Sneeze - August 30, 2007 at 4:55 AM

I had the impression that Bock was someone who simply could not be ignored :)

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