Why I decided to volunteer

As you might have read already, I have decided to go on this journey of volunteering less than two months ago. In my previous article I already described how I got to the point of going to Costa Rica, but I did not really pay any attention to the reason why I decided to volunteer at The Monkey Farm. Having thought about it, I realized that it is equally important to explain to you the reason why I have decided to go and do this.

 ”We cannot help others when we are helpless ourselves. So the first step in my process had to be the decision to take action that would help myself further.”

I have always felt the need to change the world, help others, and heal hurt. Growing up my father always asked me why I always picked out people with problems to hang out with. He did that out of love of course, as he was worried about my own well being, more so than that of the people that I was trying to look out for. He always told me to help myself first, and then go out into the world and help the rest. At the young age that I was then, my mind could not comprehend what he meant by that, but now that I am older and a bit wiser ( I do hope at least) I see what he was trying to get me to understand. He was right. We cannot help others when we are helpless ourselves. So the first step in my process had to be the decision to take action that would help myself further. I decided to finish my study after seven long and turbulent years, moved from Amsterdam to Delfzijl, and embarked on a new adventure called working a steady job. These actions gave me a foundation that I could build up on.

 Mantra by Jon Fife - 3rd

As I was growing stronger, more stable and more self-sufficient, I noticed a longing for more started to boil up from within myself. I needed to write, connect with people, dream about going places and serving others. It’s not like I am totally there yet, but at least I came a long way and I felt that the timing was right to start pursuing some of my dreams. One of those dreams being to go and serve others in a selfless way somewhere far away. But why do I want to do this, you might are interested to know. Especially since this article is called ‘Why I decided to volunteer’.


Well, let me tell you why I even felt there was a need of help in the first place. As a child I was already very aware of the emotions and desires of others. Being this sensitive towards my parents for example, was not always received with understanding. Actually most of the time people did not understand what I was trying to tell them. Because of this rejection/denial I developed even more sensitivity to others, simply because  knew how it felt to not receive it. I saw that there was a lot of suffering in the world. Also being mixed, my father is Indonesian and my mother Dutch, I was also very aware of the differences in wealth between the Western World and other parts of the World. This always felt very unfair to me and I was especially interested in the history of the Colonies, since my father was born into a Country that had been colonized by the country my mother was born into. My recent trip to Surinam only resulted in these feelings growing stronger, especially since I, a Western student at that time, was given so many opportunities just because of the location that I was a resident of. There are just too many differences in the world and this is something I really want to change.


Another big part of me volunteering is the fact that I am currently walking a spiritual path where personal development and unraveling my authentic self and potential are of the highest priority. An act of kindness that is totally selfless is something that is therefore very important to me, so that I can learn from it and eventually become a better version of myself. What is more destructive to the ego than doing something for others that you yourself cannot benefit of at all? It is so important to consciously practice such acts of selflessness/kindness to grow and let go of the ego.


Last but not least I really want to put some emphasis on the way we treat our mother; The Earth. We really should think about treating her with a little more respect and tenderness. Even though this article puts the focus more so on the people, I am also very much concerned about the conditions of the animals of the Earth. That is also why I am going to Costa Rica to help The Monkey Farm with rescuing wildlife, sustainable living through permaculture, and raising awareness. What do you want to do for others? Tell me about it! 


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Surya Tanya