Service — The truth: Sep. 20, 2013

For the past few weeks, I have been enjoying the use of a thin, black vinyl raincoat. I never thought I would like an item of clothing this much, but it has provided a warm, dry shelter more times than I can count already, and it doesn’t look half bad on me, if I do…

Service — The Bad: Aug. 9, 2013

Let me preface this post by saying that no service project that aims to truly help people is bad — unless by “helping people” that means helping self-interested parties to wider profit margins by taking advantage of free labor from naive volunteers that work like dogs.  That sort of service project is not just bad, …

Service — The Good: Aug. 5, 2013

Sometimes, you find a volunteer project that you thoroughly enjoy. It fits your tastes and energies exactly. The work you do instantly brings a smile to your face and to the people you are serving. In fact, it doesn’t feel like work at all. This kind of project is  gratifying on so many levels; in…

In Search of Service — II: July 29, 2013

  Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expect. I decided to call C’s lead, the man at the Plus Berlin’s reception desk, the one who knew  of an organization that helped the homeless and drug-addicted. The problem: I didn’t know his name and I only had a vague description of him. But I…

In search of service: July 22, 2013

  A big part of our year abroad is doing acts of service. However, we aren’t looking to be affiliated with any one organization. Our modus operandi has been to find projects once we land in our target city. We get a lay of the land and let the search grow from there — a…

Turning over a new leaf with Project Gutenberg: May 21, 2013

As you might have guessed, traveling around the world has its limits — luggage weight limits, specifically. Besides learning how to roll everything tighter and taking a heretofore unimaginably small number of shoes, luggage weight limits also mean that packing books are out of the question. Which is fine, what with eReaders being all the…

Both sides of the fence

The IDC (Immigration Detention Center) visit did not go as I had imagined. Bjorn and I went to the IDC as part of a service project. People are held at the IDC for a variety of reasons, including: they have overstayed their visa and don’t have enough money to pay the fees; they are refugees;…