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It’s midnight! The heat and the stuffiness of the summer remind me of my volunteer days. How nostalgic! It’s not the nostalgia of a far-from-home child, not that of man for his lovers. So what is it? Which nostalgia has the so strong power that forces me to wake up at midnight and write something about it?


I should start from where? I had known about volunteer when being just a high school boy. Each time the summer came, appeared on streets plenty of blue shirts of young volunteers, on the TV, on newspapers and in front of universities’ gates, at railway stations, bus stations and on various streets usually occupied by congestion. I was curious and wanted to know more about volunteer activities. Until the university entrance exam, receiving the help of those blue-shirt guys, I had the feeling of admiring and the desire to do something. I wanted to be like them, dressing in the blue shirt and contributing to the society and building the image of the young generation in Vietnam. My desire was fulfilled right in the first summer at university, as I sent my application to a volunteer group and my dream of putting on the blue shirt came true.

The first volunteer summer, the summer of 2008, at Tien Xuan commune, Luong Son district, Hoa Binh province, would always be an unforgettable memory in my life. Thanks to this trip, I had a chance to meet seniors and gain much valuable experience, which I could have never had from lectures in class. It helped me to be more mature, more active and more thoughtful. Above all, I learned lessons of growing up. Two years after, I didn’t have opportunities to go far, but I still joined volunteer activities in the annual program of helping students in the entrance exam time, which also gave me many experiments. Having a new role - leader of a volunteer group - was one of them. I had to connect all 20 team members and bring the best out of them. A truly hard mission…

 

Under the heat of the summer, hanging around crowded places such as gates, stations and streets was so exhausted. Tired but exciting, the excitement of helping people, who reminded me of myself years ago. The excitement of doing something useful and being useful. The excitement of having more close friends, who shared with me each cup of water, each loaf of bread early in the morning. There were still some disputes, angriness among us members but everything went right when we sat together in the dorm, chatting, sharing stuffs or hung around at midnight, played basketball,… I gained my “brothers” from there.

 

 

 

Another summer is coming, and so is the graduation. I have never stopped missing those volunteer days. Some people may think that what we have done is nothing. Right! Maybe in a very short time, our work is not much, not very helpful for people in remote areas, not enough to make candidates relieve and comfortable, but we believe we have reduced the burden on each candidate’s shoulder by our enthusiasm. The contribution of the young volunteers is little but it really builds up the image of the young generation in Vietnam. Being a senior grown up from volunteer activities, the word “volunteer” has never stopped motivated me. After graduating, I can no longer “go volunteer” to gain new experience and to pass my enthusiasm to the next generation.

 

This year, our university will have 2 volunteer teams, one going to Tram Tau – Yen Bai, an area with many difficult conditions challenging our skills and spirits. I wish you, Mr. Ha the leader and other members, a nice trip. Be in harmony! I also wish Thao and your teammates well finish missions of helping exam candidates. If I have time, I will come and see you guys, share your difficulties and who knows, my little experience can help. I may visit the dorm also, and hope to sleep a night there. Fighting!

 

 Nguyen Duc Huy,  K52 BA
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