Fundraising is a challenge that I signed myself up for and I now feel unstoppable. I have stood out in zero degree weather. I have been criticized and refused. I have been rained on and creeped out but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My limits have been tested in every possible way. I do not feel that my capacity has grown but more of my potential has been revealed to me through this process. I have greater patience than I could have ever dreamed of. I am capable of anything so long as I understand the why of my goal which in this case is getting to Africa.
Another great part of the fundraising experience is getting to travel all the while striving towards the future. I have met gracious and humble people with such great histories. They have each been an inspiration to me. Each guest and CouchSurfing host has taught me valuable lessons. The hosts especially as they are such a special community of people who open their homes, their hearts, and their fridges to us. I have listened to people share their perspectives and how they lead their lives. Sometimes we bond over food, music, or other commonalities. It doesn’t matter where people come from, we all learn to have fun in new ways. They share their stories, values and dreams. They have each shaped me into the positive, yet hardened volunteer that I am.
Mostly, I have learned that the real goal is not about the money. It’s about your attitude and how you carry yourself along the way. Can you stay motivated? Can you have compassion? Can you do what needs to be done to accomplish your goals? I have memories of new landscapes and a story to share about each one. I haven’t done it alone either. My teammates have been my motivators, my safety nets, and my role models. From the set up to the delivery, we support each other every step of the way. I personally was not accustomed to working on a team. In my career, I was a solo worker and I preferred it that way. I can now recognize the true strength in numbers and the difference to work alongside a strong group of people who share the same passion as me.
Written by: Alena Balko - November Team 2018