Meet The Volunteers-Urbanus
Meet The Volunteers - GONZALO
Town / City: Manchester
Placement(s): The Booth Centre, Loaves and Fishes, St. Vincent’s School Liverpool
A little about me:
My name is Gonzalo and I’m from Madrid, in Spain –yes, that great country. I come from a big family –there are nine of us-, where I found my faith. I love stories watched on films, Tv shows… or read in books. I also like doing magic tricks and sleeping. Especially sleeping!
Why I chose the Vincentian Volunteers:
I finished my degree in Spain in May and I didn’t know what to do during the next year. I knew I didn’t want to keep studying, but I didn’t want to start working either. I wanted to go abroad, going out from my comfort zone, spending a relatively long time (around ten months) thinking about those important and deep aspects of one’s life which I never thought about because I always had something more urgent to do. I wanted to know how the “real world” is, be more aware of the problems people on the street have and try to be part of the solution. I am really happy of being here so far, I think this volunteering is giving much more to me than what I can provide from myself.
I go to three different places, depending on the day of the week. Salford Loves and Fishes and The Booth Centre are both placements to help homeless people so they can have breakfast, lunch and spend their time doing different activities –they really like Bingo here, I had never played before- instead of being on the street all day which is usually a bad idea. They also have other services there like hairdresser or shower and washing clothes they can use without paying anything. In The Booth Centre I usually help in the kitchen, while in Loaves and Fishes I help in the different need of each day –reception, kitchen, Bingo, discussion group…-.
My third placement is Saint Vincent’s School, in Liverpool, where I go twice a week. It’s a school for children with visual impairments and other sensorial needs. I am with different groups depending on the moment of the day. It is difficult to explain with words –in English- how amazing is that placement and how grateful the children are. I’ve started to learn Braille, so I can be more helpful helping the kids in the different lessons. Those children are teaching me much more than I could teach them. You should go and see how they help each other, and how they enjoy every little thing. I can’t explain it, and don’t think anyone can. Just go and see.
After much thought I can say everything’s the same thing as everything appears to be a highlight. However one very important thing for me, being here, is to meet those people who have a life completely different than mine, listening to them, sharing with them their happiness and their hard moments. The community, the people I live with, is also really important. Serving food and helping in reception or teaching maths or whatever is important. But there’s something more important –I don’t even know if there’s a word for that- that appears when you share time with and give your time to- others.
Spending one year without studying nor working helps you to focus on love for others. So every aspect of our life, as long as we are here at least, helps us to love the people we serve. That is helping me to find out what’s important in my life –in everyone’s life, I guess- and I hope I will be able to keep this with me for the rest of my life.