Saahiel in Sierra Leone

Hello! My name is Saahiel and I am a VSO volunteer in the small town of Kabala, Sierra Leone.

Now those of you familiar with the Indian way of life are aware that for majority Indians a few bucks earned at home (and the close support of your family and near and dear ones) is any day far better than to go abroad and live away from the familial comforts. Plus, if you don’t get married when you are in your mid-twenties and have at least a kid by the time you hit 30, there is something definitely wrong with you.

To add on to my “advantage”, I was taking a leave of absence from a job that was paying me very handsomely to go for a volunteering assignment which can hardly be considered a good source of earning. Most of the folks I knew were convinced that I had gone loony.

Striking gold in Sierra Leone

I have always believed in the idiom – “One life; live it to the fullest”. I wanted to have a life full of fun, adventure, visiting different places, meeting new people, etc.

All this came true with one opportunity that I got, and, I struck gold! I was selected as a VSO volunteer to go to Sierra Leone and render my services there.

If you consider the fact that I travelled half way across the world, flew in helicopters (hopefully will keep doing that), got a beautiful house with decent amenities, learning a foreign language, going on long distance bike rides or treks or camping on top of hills, the list goes on..., all this for FREE! I assure you, it would have cost me a fortune if I were to spend for all of it from my own pockets. I am sure you are smart enough to figure out the economics yourselves.

We do get a monthly allowance which is enough for us to lead a comfortable life. Also, much depends upon your lifestyle as well. You can earn millions and still not be satisfied.

Time for self-reflection

Question: Saahiel, what do you get by doing whatever you are doing?

Answer: Peace of mind. An awesome feeling of being a goodwill ambassador of my country abroad. Lots of love and respect. Get to learn about new cultures and meet new people-knowledge expansion. Literally becoming “worldy-wise”.

I just want to tell you that I have almost reached the stage of “self actualisation” (Maslow would be proud). I don’t think a lot of youngsters can say that.

Don't you think it is important to earn money or do some savings for future or what will you do when you have a family later on and no finances to support, etc.?

Answer: People, I’d be a fool to say that I can do without earning money (good money that is). I too wish to earn, lead a very comfortable life etc. I choose to volunteer at this early age because of a few specific reasons. Here I go explaining them in pointers again:

  1. I am young and am not engaged in any relationships (yet). This gives me a lot of personal space and I can do whatever I wish to do in terms of risk taking, lead a life of adventure without bothering much about girlfriends or wife or kids (though I must say I miss my Mom a lot).

  2. My services as a volunteer are recognised by many international organisations. Once I complete my tenure, I have a good chance to be absorbed by such an organisation. All the questions about earning good money and living a good life then get taken care of. So you see, it can be considered as an investment in terms of time and services on my part for a future return (and hopefully reward) of getting myself placed in international organisations (My personal favourite is the UN).

I shall pen off now and promise to write more. Cheers!

Saahiel Nishant
VS Volunteer

How to apply

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