Answering a higher calling

31/7/2017
Volunteer Dianne Hanna
Volunteer Dianne Hanna

Diane Hanna shares her life-changing volunteering experience in East Timor helping the locals help themselves. Palms Australia is always looking for new volunteers to serve in Australia and around the world.     

Why I never regret going to Timor Leste.
Timor Leste is a beautiful country surrounded with natural beauty. I enjoy walking and living in Maliana provides me with many trails to follow sometimes taking the climb up the mountain, other times through the rice fields and other times along the water edge taking a plunge to cool off on a hot day. In the community I feel very safe to walk alone during the day and have come to know a lot more people and community groups through my regular walks. The people are very warm and welcoming.

What is best about living in community (the Palms approach)?
Through living in community I have become involved in community activities sharing in festivals and weddings, officiating soccer games and training with the players, as well as attending funerals and praying for those that have passed on.
All of this has deepened my understanding and appreciation of Timorese culture which in turn has provided me with insights that have been invaluable in working alongside the Timorese people. I also feel that the people within the community are able to better understand me which in turn builds the trust required for a cross-cultural sharing of experiences whereby I feel comfortable to communicate my perspective in a way that is culturally sensitive and the person I am interacting with can receive the information as intended and respond also knowing that they won’t be misunderstood.

How has the volunteer experience changed or enriched your life/ world view /attitudes?
Any experience has the potential to challenge and broaden a person’s views on the world and to enrich and change their attitude but the person has to be willing to be changed and enriched. A closed glass bottle tossed in the ocean will only ever float and know the surface of the ocean.
Through my experience I have come to value and become more aware of different perspectives. Working in the setting that I do, I encounter many NGOs that openly share their views on what the problems are and what needs to be done. I am very fortunate that I am able to balance these perspectives with others to benefit from their insights.

Has the experience contributed to your vocation and approach? In what ways?
In my professional work life I was required to assess a situation and make decisions quickly. Through my placement I am starting to value taking time to see and understand a situation from different perspectives because each perspective provides a different insight not possible to be seen by me alone.
For many years I worked in a job that did not respond to my spiritual growth. Working in the finance industry I did not feel it possible to have that side of my life fulfilled through the work that I did. Through my placement I have come to know another way to use the talents that I have been given while at the same time responding to God’s calling for me.
Thank you!

About Palms Australia
Since its creation in 1961, Palms has sent over 1500 volunteers to live simply and work in communities in Australia and overseas. In six decades and 39 countries, Palms volunteers have donated time valued at over $200million. Since Timor-Leste regained independence in 2001, over 80 Palms volunteers have worked with local institutions to build the capacity of the poorest of Timor Leste.

For more enquiries contact:
Kevin Wilson, Communications Officer
kevin@palms.org.au
(02) 9560 5333
 
Posted By CathEd Parra at 31/07/2017 10:37:44 AM
 
   
  
 

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