Sunday, August 11, 2013

Everyday Heroes

I have a very good friend who is serving with the Peace Corps in Swaziland.  She is not the usual Peace Corps volunteer--the young, just out of college person who is serving before moving into their career. Instead she is 64, a cancer survivor, and in a life transition where she decided to return to her roots of helping others.

Personally, I can't imagine volunteering to go to an African nation where it fills like camping all the time. She bathes with a pan of water that she hauls herself from a stream. At every turn she is confronted with extreme poverty, lack of education, a very patriarchal culture, and the highest HIV infection rate in Africa. She is an educator and during her two years of service hopes to make a difference in educating girls about HIV. She is a hero in my eyes. When she could be enjoying retirement she is off helping others, truly making a better world.

Every time a get a new message from my friend, it makes me even more aware of those around me who volunteer--people of all ages from young children to senior citizens. From those in large organizations like the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders to the man who provide rides to doctors appointments, to the meals on wheels delivery people, to those who care for neglected animals, and to the lady who coordinates coffee service every Sunday at my church, I am awed by their consistent commitment to their work--most for very little or no pay. Each of them give up some comfort in their daily lives to do this volunteer work. Each of them choose to quietly make a difference.

In a world where it seems we hear only about evil, or people making choices to stagnate rather than move forward, I am mindful of all these silent, yet amazing, volunteers around the world. It reminds me of the chorus to the song "Everyday Heroes" by Dave Carroll

Cause you know heroes come in every shape and size
Making special sacrifices for others in their lives
No one gives a medal, the world don't know their name
But in someones eyes their heroes just the same.

I say Thank you to all of them!


Paty Jager said...

There are so many "heroes" all around us that I sometimes wonder what would become of us all if not for these generous people.

Great post! I wanted to join the Peace Corps out of high school but the counselor didn't want to expend the energy to help me make the contacts and my parents just shrugged it off. It looks like there is hope for me yet! If I could talk my husband in to letting me go...

Maggie Faire said...

Yes, Paty, it goes to show it is never to late. I agree, we are all so very fortunate that there are people willing to risk life and limb and HEART for the sake of others.

Susan said...

There is so much 'contention' on the news, in politics, etc, it's easy to forget our real heroes. Great post Maggie.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Susan. Yesterday my friend sent an email about water. They hadn't had any water for two days, so no one had bathed. Everyone was saving water to drink. In the late evening she thought she would go check the water source and it was there. She filled her 5 gallon bucket and then one for her host family. When she got back, they thanked her for letting them know and immediately sent kids running to fill other buckets.

It really makes you appreciate something we take for granted.

Danita Cahill said...

Your friend is my hero too, Maggie. What a strong, amazing woman! Bully for her.