I’m just trying to volunteer people!

October 28, 2016

It’s nearly a week till my trip and, naturally, I’m stressing. Also naturally, I’ve been he uber planner, ironing out many portions of the trip down to the last detail. But those stars that were previously aligning so perfectly started to stray.

Aside from long wanting to visit various countries in South America, it was the volunteerism award from Travelocity that was the catalyst for this trip. As mentioned in my previous post, a while passed after winning before I was able to commit time to fulfilling the trip.

But once I picked a date for my two-month trip and my application to volunteer was accepted, the next big step was behind me… Or so I thought…

Instead, coordinating the volunteer opportunity, or not being able to rather, has been a series of unfortunate events. Shortly after being accepted, the nonprofit’s volunteer terms changed: They now required a minimum of four weeks commitment compared to three. Additionally, they wouldn’t budge with the their commitment requirement of six days per week.

Sure, I had gotten two months of leave approved, but the more time dedicated to volunteering, the less times I would have to tour four counties (!).

After much deliberation, I came up with dates of nearly four weeks and sent them over to the organization. Crickets. Days, weeks went by with no response. Did I piss them off? Were they that dead set on four weeks? Did they renege my application? Or were my e-mails getting lost in the Peruvian Amazon?

After multiple follow-up e-mails, I decided to move on and find a new nonprofit to volunteer for. Much to my excitement, it didn’t take long before I found one in Patagonia, a place I had longed to go but had nixed in my plans when committing four weeks to the original nonprofit. What’s more, they only required two weeks and they provided accommodations and gourmet meals.

I swiftly applied, going to great lengths in a matter of 48 hours to submit the numerous official documents they needed. Almost as swiftly, AMA Torres deal Paine accepted my application – or at least that’s what I interpreted the PayPal invoice sent from the organization’s director to mean. I paid, and then sunk back into my chair, happy and relieved that my volunteer opportunity was finally booked (and that I was getting to see Patagonia after all).

Again, fast forward to today, and I have yet to hear from the director – or anyone – at the organization. Once again, weeks have gone by since initial contact and acceptance. I leave for South America in eight days and my confirmed volunteer opportunity is supposed to start in 34. As you can imagine, I’ve attempted to contact them several times, through various mediums. I even sent a Facebook message, which I can see that they viewed hours later (!). Not a single response.

What is the deal?! Why is it so difficult to volunteer?! I’m trying to give you free use of my time and womanpower people!

Coincidentally, in the time that AMA wasn’t responding, a representatives form Pilpintuwasi finally responded. A new volunteer coordinator had stepped in and was trying to play catchup. She said my dates were available if I was still interested. At that point I was still optimistic that I had a new gig booked. Plus, I had already paid AMA’s volunteer fee and booked flights accordingly.

So, I’m back to square one for the second time, but now I have even less time to sort it out than before. And if you know me, it’s majorly stressing the planner in me out.

Published by lindsayeholloway

Writer... editor... environmentalist... athlete...

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