Pollyann Lepping shares her reflections on being a volunteer
It was fun to be young and single and do crazy stuff, running wild and free.
But it is empty when you do not answer your call.
I was the wild one in my family and then felt a tug – being pulled to a life that includes God and focuses on my fellow country men and women.
I am from a well-known and loving family.
At the age of 28, just before Easter, I heard this call – a sort of deep desire – to teach and share my knowledge, understanding and skills, to live a mission life.
At first, it was hard telling my family about my new life, but, I soon came to realise that telling them the truth would help me in my journey ahead.
From then on, I came to see that I was leaving behind a ‘not-so-good life’ and in exchange received a ‘much better life’.
SERVICE to HELP and INSPIRE
During lent and Holy Week, my almsgiving resolution was to help the flood victims at Bishop Epalle Catholic School, Rove Evacuation centre.
We did what we could together with other youth members of Bishop Epalle Mass Centre, to assist and help the victims as they came to terms with the disaster that struck our country.
This made me realise who I am and what I am supposed to do in future.
After getting back home one night I went through a few booklets of the life of Don Bosco.
The Salesians of Don Bosco are in the Solomon Islands and educate the young to be ‘Good Christians and Honest citizens’.
I contacted Fr. Ambrose Pereira sdb, and he guided me on the path of my long desired ‘call to serve.’
It was a big move for me, as I am still doing my studies at the Solomon Islands National University and my family wanted me to finish my studies first, but I see this as an opportunity not to be turned down.
Moving to a new place, living with new people and the hardest part was ‘no betel nut or alcohol’ allowed!
But I did get through with the support and words from Fr. Ambrose and my parents. Life for me, as a new member of the Boscoian family has been challenging, but a wonderful experience for me.
Being an educator
I have committed myself to be a volunteer for three months at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Henderson.
As a volunteer–instructor, I have been assigned Trade Drawing, Maths and Computers. It’s a full load of 30 classes, with extracurricular activities and occasional sessions on the weekend.
I realise that a few of the students do not do have the right attitude and do not do what is required.
I hear some say: ‘That’s not the Boscoian way’. My constant thought is, ‘What do I need to do to guide our students’.
It is difficult to make sure we are up to standard. But that is what I am here for. I realise that, helping and reaching out to others has built me up as a person and helped me appreciate the importance of my loving and caring family.
The few first weeks were tough as I am not a trained teacher and I did what I learnt from my teachers of the past.
I had these stage-fears or phobias of being in front of a class. I have got over it and now have the courage to speak, write and draw without trembling hands and butterflies in my stomach! I am encouraged by the Salesians, who would lift my burdens up with words of hope.
Abiding by the rules that is expected of me as a teacher and showing them a good example, reminds me of growing up with the strict discipline of home and family.
I now see the importance of it all. These new turns of my life have made me realize the struggles my parents faced to bring me up.
I thank them for what they have done and understand the challenges they have gone through.
I miss my family, but I do not feel alone because the Bosconian family is now my family, and Don Bosco, Henderson is now my home away from my home!
Being a local Volunteer
Over the years, I have been in contact with many overseas volunteers who have come to share their time and talent with us in the Solomon Islands.
Their lives have touched me and I have grown. Reflecting on what they did, I decided to volunteer as well.
Being a local single female young adult, I want to take up the challenge to being at the service of my fellow Solomon Islander youths.
Being a ‘Volunteer’ has this very clear outline.
I am ready to share my knowledge and skills of my trade and I am given an allowance to cover up travel and food for the day.
This is what gives me great joy and satisfaction.
Pondering over my years past, I see that I have come a long way, from a little kid who thinks she doesn’t have a purpose in life to a youngster whose life is motivated and has a direction.
I realise that perhaps I have been a problem child who hated discipline. I am now an educator, whom young people look up to for guidance and inspiration.
Sometimes, I feel the tension to return to the life I left behind, but deep down, I know that following this path is the right way.
Every step is a step closer to getting to understand who I am in my parent’s eyes and to know the purpose of my life and God’s plan for me as I continue to serve Him through the young I teach, educate and inspire.
I realise that life is worth it, because He has offered me a possibility and I am the one to choose freely.