Wonderful Wednesday

Good morning to you all.
I'm not sure what to talk about today, so I'm just going to start typing and see what comes out. As all of you know by now (through those thousands of emails I mentioned yesterday) I am working for the charity Christmas party in Saga this year. The party is this weekend, and I am psyched. Am I psyched for the party? Yes, definitely. But I am also psyched to see the combined efforts of many volunteers, working hard for many weeks, come to fruition. It has been a long road this year due to the loss of many great volunteers from last year. But we have also had the addition of many fabulous new volunteers. I know that the party will be wonderful thanks to everyone's hard work. Otsukaresama to all.
So, here's a question- why do we volunteer? Are we gluttons for punishment? Maybe. But I think that there's more to it than that. Volunteering has been an important part of my life since I was quite young. I remember in 3rd or 4th grade (9 or 10 yrs old) my school had some sort of dog food donation to the local humane society. That's the first time I remember doing anything like that. Although my volunteering may have evolved over the years, the basic idea is the same- giving time and energy to help someone, or something, in need. Many of you are just like me.
Saga has a large group of ALT's and non-ALT's who share my interest in volunteering. Last year, 15 of us went to Sri Lanka with the Habitat for Humanity program. Thanks to all of you who helped us raise the money we needed to pay for the houses we built and other donations to the local community. This was the first time that I had ever been on a trip which was not just a vacation. We got up very early to trudge into the middle of nowhere to build houses all day. More specifically, we spent the majority of our time digging holes for toilets and passing bricks to the builder. This was not necessarily always fun. It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The work was hard. We were sore every day. We grumbled and whined a bit. There were a couple of instances where I thought to myself, 'I'm crazy. I could be on the beach right now, sipping margaritas, scuba diving, living the good life that my Jet salary allows.' But, after all of this, I still plan to go back and do it all over again this year. Why, you might ask? At the end of our work, we had a ceremony to dedicate the house that was finished and officially give it to the house owners. The owners were a young couple who had twin daughters around 4 years old. The family was overjoyed to have a house for their children to grow up in. It was overwhelming to think that thanks to us and all of the other volunteers who worked on that house, these little girls now have a safe place to grow up-to play, to study, to do all of those things that children do. Realizing what an important role we played in this is the reason why I'm going back to do it all again this year.
So, back to my question above- why do people volunteer? Or maybe, more specifically, why SHOULD people volunteer?
I know there are a lot of you out there who have volunteered your time to hundreds of different causes. Why did you do it? Tell me about it. If you have never volunteered for anything in your life, why not? What is your reasoning against it? I'm really interested to hear about other people's experiences, good or bad, dealing with this issue.
Thanks for reading my ramblings. Have a lovely day. I'll be back tomorrow.