The Spirit of Volunteering: Connecting with the Global Community

Photo by John-Mark Smith

Author of God’s Existence, Gary R. Lindberg, returns with humbler topics in The Vegetable Grows and the Lion Roars about his experiences as a volunteer in Africa, primarily in Côte d’Ivoire.

The Vegetable Grows and the Lion Roars by Gary Lindberg offers a remarkable account of what it’s like to volunteer for the Peace Corps in the organization’s early years. Headed towards Côte d’Ivoire in the 1960s, Lindberg wanted to explore the world while, at the same, contributing to the communities he was going to visit.

This brilliant memoir takes readers to Lindberg’s many steps- how he applied, trained, and lived daily- and the many connections he developed. There are also personal, first-hand vignettes of Lindberg touring other countries, going on a safari, and witnessing the world-renowned city of Timbuktu.

Together with textual accounts and photographs, Lindberg paints a beautiful and insightful view of life beyond the United States, working with locals in a completely foreign culture.

How Volunteering Helps You

With how time-strapped the average person is, more likely than not, the idea of volunteering has never crossed their minds. Yet, what people can gain from volunteering might be life-changing. 

Volunteering is about contributing a bit of time to a community through a local program or somewhere else. While it can profoundly help a community for volunteers to take a bit of their time and render service, it can also significantly benefit the volunteer.

Volunteering helps boost self-confidence and self-satisfaction, improve prior skills and teach new ones.

Volunteering also widens social circles by connecting with community members and other volunteers or advancing careers.

Volunteering Abroad

While local volunteering can be a game-changer, those effects are even more pronounced volunteering abroad. With how programs abroad are initiated, it’s almost always because there is a pressing need that the local community cannot address, requiring the aid of people outside of the community, who can either be from other locales or other countries.

When volunteering abroad, people can engage and learn directly with foreign communities and the native culture in a meaningful and intimate way.

Psychological Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering in its basest form is simply giving, and it has been shown that giving can alleviate mental stress and combat depression; it reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation.

When volunteering, engagement with other people keeps minds stimulated by offering a sense of purpose and belonging to a broader community.

Volunteers profess to have a better, more positive outlook in life and are more motivated to live as best as possible.

Joining the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps provides opportunities for people wanting to experience life abroad, willing and motivated to contribute to the communities they are visiting, and engaging with people to solve local issues from a global perspective.

Since the 1980s, the Peace Corps, in partnership with the US Agency for International Development, to provide service and aid to local communities worldwide to contribute to their development.

With the Peace Corps, volunteers are accorded housing and a stipend. Unlike many other volunteer programs, the Peace Corps does not demand a fee from its recruits outside the required medical examinations during the application process.

So, are you thinking of contributing to the global community? Visit the official Peace Corps website now!

About the Author

Gary R. Lindberg was born in Minneapolis, where he was educated until high school before attending the University of California in Berkeley and graduating with a degree in US History. He was a Peace Corps volunteer for two and a half years, teaching primary school students and educators in trial school garden programs in Côte d’Ivoire.

Lindberg has toured several European countries—Italy, Germany, France, England, and the Netherlands. As a draftee, he volunteered in the United States Navy for four years before earning a Master’s in Business Administration. In the next 43 years, he would be pretty successful as a Human Resources professional, working for several noteworthy companies—Celotex, Del Monte, Micro Lithography Inc—until retiring in 2019 to work on personal projects.

Gary R. Lindberg has also written a book studying the existence of God with the approach of investigating science and implementing Christian research.

Want to know more about God’s Existence: Truth or Fiction? Check here.

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