Travel

It’s Confirmed! I am a Volunteer!

 

 

Dec 30, 2012

A message suddenly pops out of FB chat. A soft invitation from a college friend –

“I registered as a volunteer for the 2013 WYD. You might be interested. The final selection is until mid-January. My friend has been shortlisted already.” 

Last year, I thought of incorporating productive and meaningful activities to my trips that add value to my personal growth. In December, I planned to take a pizza and gelato-making class in Florence, only that it did not push through due to time constraints. 

Never experienced girl scout camping and jamborees, never did volunteer works, this, I thought, would be a perfect experience.

I visited WYD’s website to find out more details about the event. Ready to jump with excitement, I was dismayed to see that WYD falls within 30 days of my end of contract (contrary to company procedure that says an employee must be in-country during the 30-day period).

Sigh…

Dec 31, 2012

Not deterred by the early roadblock, I went ahead and submitted the online application for volunteers. No expectations, my spirit says whatever will be, will be. WYD advised that selected volunteers will be notified by the end of January.

January, 2013

Nothing was heard from WYD representatives 😦 My life went on…

Feb 8, 2013

Yey! I got an email from WYD representatives! I was among the last batch of volunteers selected and they were requesting the following documents within the week to confirm my registration:

  • A scanned copy of your passport or identification card
  • A passport type photograph size 3×4 cm.
  • The letter of presentation signed and sealed by the diocesan bishop, or your parish pastor or your priest responsible for the movement or congregation (only one of the three)

  • The first two requirements are pretty straightforward. For #3, I would need help from family in the Philippines. Meeting the deadline was a suspense since our parish priest was out of town and there was no one else to sign my Letter of Presentation. A few visits to the church by my mudra, I have all the documents ready 🙂 

    Feb 13, 2013

    Documents submitted. 2 days before the deadline 🙂

    Mar 20, 2013

    WYD published its final list of international volunteers in their FB page. Yup, yup! My name is there! I am officially a volunteer! 🙂I wonder what my assignment will be, who my teammates are gonna be, how WYD will be like…

    What a way to start my day!

    But, There are Things I Had To Do First…

    I have to iron out travel-related issues, which means I had to:

         a) Obtain an Exception to Procedure (ETP) approved by our Program Manager to cut my current contract short to afford me a longer break for the WYD.

    Was it easy? It was not straightforward at the beginning as managers are critical in approving ETPs but I couldn’t believe I got the PM’s nod easily. It helped that we would occasionally chat about travel and he knows how much of a wanderer I am. It meant a lot to hear him say he supports the goal I was trying to achieve. So, yes, I got the signatures I needed!

              b) Have my work visa renewed. This IS a very delicate factor in my travel…  

        c) Get my supervisor to approve my leave. That was easy, too! No drama required, just the usual teasing we get when we apply for leave. Everything is DENIED! Hehe…

        d) Check out reasonably-priced yet fantastically-scheduled flights. That was quite a task, as I had to guess which routes would probably come cheap. Yet I emerged one happy soul. I found just the perfect flight schedules and a reasonable deduction to my salary for the price difference from the airfare allowance I am entitled to. Best of all, I can earn a lot of miles for this very long flight 😉

    Now…

    At 99 days before WYD, I have my travel arrangements almost ready, 2 travel buddies/fellow volunteers to share the experience with, a hundred potential friends, and a million personal possibilities I can make that I will cherish for life.

    The visa thing starts to threaten with its ugly claw which could cause me to reschedule my trip and therefore lose the opportunity to volunteer. But like all the hurdles I have surpassed to get most everything sorted out, I am positive that things will clear later, and I will leave for this mission and come back smoothly.

    If not, I know there is a reason why the universe conspired to bring me to Brazil earlier than I imagined. And that is what I have to find out…

    And if that is meeting my favorite writer, Paulo Coelho, that’s not bad at all :p

    Thank you, WYD, for whatever it is that made you accept me as a volunteer. It is an honor and a great privilege for me to be of service to a meaningful event. I fervently pray that all situations will be green, and I will be one more hand, one more voice, one more laughter, one more strength, and one more spirit to the WYD.

    Research has shown that people who volunteer often live longer.
     ~ Allen Klein
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