4-2 They Work for Love

Talking about the moment we knew we’d made a difference.

 Last week, one of my co-workers commented that Dan, my photography co-teacher, and I work too much. He pointed out that we are volunteers and don’t get paid, but we work harder than everyone else. I replied that the direct Bislama translation of “Volunteer” is “Work thank you.” We aren’t working for money, we are working for the thanks we get at the end of the day.

Last month, I was reading an article in a Peace Corps journal about the early days. The writer mentioned in passing that in the local language of a country, “Peace Corps” translated to “They work for love.” Then the article went on to talk about whatever it was it was talking about. Clearly, that part wasn’t important to me.
I got stuck on these two ideas. Language is important and the words we use to think about ourselves make a difference. When we translate things between languages, sometimes the words take on levels of complexity they lack in a single language. Or sometimes they express a concept better when you get all the translations.

As a Volunteer I work for thank you, I work for love. I love my work so I work hard. I work harder at this job than I would at just about any other one, because I believe in what I am doing. I believe in the impact I can have, if I work hard. I believe in the betterment of people as individuals on the grass roots level and that if enough people try hard enough to have positive impact, then our world really will be a better place.

If I didn’t love my job…

It all sounds cliche when I write it. Because we hear phrases like, “Change the world,” so often, we’ve equated it with something trite. But that is why I am here, it is why I am still here. That is what I see in my fellow PCVs, the ones here in Vanuatu and the ones serving in the rest of the world. All of us believe that our tiny contribution can and will make a difference.

I work for love.

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