Mary Pat and her husband Fred volunteered at Mozambique Community Project in March 2012. Mary Pat works at a Pre-School for children with learning disabilities and Fred is a Television/ Film Producer. These are Mary Pats' reflections of the experience since returning to their life in Toronto, Canada. I had this thought a while ago, what is it in people's lives that spur them to work so far from home? Why volunteer somewhere so remote? What are they "running" away from? Why do they think the western/first world ways are so much better? What do they really think they will accomplish? My list was long; my head was full of questions and assumptions. After three weeks volunteering in Vilanculous, Mozambique with African Impact, some of my questions were answered, more have opened up, assumptions corrected or dropped and a new passion is now burning in my heart. Firstly, all these wonderful souls that devote their lives to jobs in distant countries, so far from the comforts of home - are not running away from anything. They are running to life, following their passion, where they can really make a difference at the end of the day, where they can see the fruits of their labours change lives daily, hourly.... These are the people who are actually walking their talk. They operate from their hearts, which is so very hard to do in today's crazy left brained technologically connected world. They generally earn next to no money, work 24/7, and flop into bed every night physically drained probably trying to figure out how they will get it all done the next day. Humm, I just reread that, and think I just described any busy young mother. Before we left Mozambique, I was asked by African Impact, “Was this a life changing experience for you?” Let me say, I am a grown woman, who has raised four children, travelled the world, have had some pretty difficult, life shattering times, basically seen a lot of a lot in my life. So my initial reaction to the question was, Nope, it wasn't a life changing experience for me. Well time has passed and that question is still on my mind. I think I would like to change my answer to "Yes, it was a life changing experience". It’s been pretty hard for me to return to the life I have here in Canada. I want to continue to make that kind of a difference on a daily, hourly basis forever. I do volunteer here at home but when I was in Vilanculous I didn't have to worry about driving, paying bills, running the house, etc., so I had more time to give of myself. And let me add, it wasn't just me "helping" them; they were helping me. Helping me become a better person, finding new strengths (which is a wonderful thing at age 55), learning new skills, shaping me in a way I am proud to be who I am, happy to jump out of bed every morning ready to tackle whatever the day brings, feeling connected to people half way around the world, who I can not even speak with (Mozambique is a Portuguese country, I don't speak Portuguese). I was operating totally from the heart and it felt GOOD!! I was experiencing joy every day. (those cute kids were meaning enough for me to jump out of bed and feel joy, happiness and love). In closing, these are changing times we are in now - 2012. The end of the Mayan calendar; the financial crisis, global warming, solar flares, earth changes, wars, the list goes on.... Universal love is the message of this new earth. If we all open our hearts, universal love will sweep away all the boundaries and limitations and make anything possible, if we are willing to open to it. And being in Vilanculous - well, it was just easy for me to open my heart, to give unconditionally, love unconditionally and accept it back (because these beautiful people give love so easily). There are five easy steps to living your life, to opening to universal love, (these are not my words but someone we all know in our hearts). They are Prayer, Forgiveness, Service, Giving thanks every day, and Surrendering your will to God. Doing the service portion in Vilanculous was easy, enjoyable and yes, life changing. Now to plan my next visit....! If reading this blog entry has made you curious and you would like to join us at our Pre-School Orphan Teaching & Community Project in Tropical Mozambique, follow the link and take a look at the project and the other projects we offer on our internet set.