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It Matters, After All

no picture Cambodia ASEAN International Institute
Lenratha So
Member since August 12, 2017
  • 1 Post

I, as a sophomore in high school, was selected to be a leader of a reading community which is called "Read2Volunteer4Nature" organized by Scholar Library in Cambodia. For practically two hours a day, seven days a week, I was rewarded with this significant opportunity— one that offers guidance and stimulation to others. Affirmatively, I conceded that I was the indicator, the leader. Little did I know myself, I’ve always been curious, “Leaders are supposed to lead.” I thought ruminatively to myself, “What am I leading? A reading community or a kind of community where everyone takes things into consideration and starts executing?” I kept coercively interrogating myself but the genuine rejoinder was never divulged. For several months, I’ve been trying to diligently figure out the riposte to this inquiry, but I flunked miserably.

Until one radiant day, I decided to join a special occasion, an environment clean up. I helped picking up trash along the riverside (The Mekong River) but what satisfied me most was each one of us was required to plant a tree. To be frank, I was utterly gobsmacked at first. I didn't know how to react properly to it. I never actually planted anything before, to tell you the truth. It sounded unfeasible and uproarious. In all of a sudden, something popped up in my mind, “Do it, grow one and your life will change forever.” I, then, followed my vaguely oblivious mind. I planted it without realizing that it would make a tremendous impact on my community.

Ever since that moment occurred, my point of view, my perspective altered significantly. I was a completely different person. From a person who had never actually got involved with volunteering in nature to a person who urgingly strived for more opportunities related to the environment. With nature, we, as humans learn how to believe in ourselves. We need nature as much as we need food, oxygen and water. After that day, I tried to be a better leader. I worked extra hard. I expressed my opinion and how I felt towards nature. So, did my members. Jubilantly, the entire team started to connect more with each other, making it our project even stronger than it initially was.

The opportunity was such a blessing to me. I got to share my journey as well as experience with my potential teammates. It brought me to places that I could have never visualized. Our community drastically changed, for the better. We started to come and work together as one strong team. Most importantly, we decided to volunteer to clean up trash and leaves near our district. Soon, we started going to different areas and just did what we were supposed to do. People would frequently ask us, “What have you learned from nature?”

Our response would simply be, “Everything.” But, that “simply” esoterically means “deeply.” We learned so much especially taking responsibility as well competition our arduous tasks. Like trees, they are green and they stand rooted to the ground with their leaves wide open, making the scenario fascinating and exquisite. Birds soar up high, representing freedom and peace. Rivers look blue and water flow peacefully.

I learned so much from nature, truthfully. After weeks of putting my full mindset into it, I finally realized that nature means so more than just things made by God. Nature is love and love is eternal. Simply, the way we think, speak, talk, ect. are all indicators of nature. Without it, we wouldn't be here today. We could've destroyed nature. But, we didn't because we LOVE nature. It guided me through my dark path. It changed me, merrily. Currently, my team and I are working on another project which is, “keeping the water clean” and “collecting rubbish.” Now that we wholeheartedly know who we are and fully understand what nature really is, we’re going to continue doing things that we love and care for which is NATURE.

The challenge that I had to face was different from others and I personally think it's unique. My kind of challenge was to take actions. It was difficult at first because I was never intrigued by the term "volunteering." I started doing it and it has changed my life completely. I faced plenty of hassles during the project. Solving the environmental issue required a lot of determination and patience. My teammates were not really into the idea at first because they genuinely thought that it was just a waste of time. Another challenge we had to take was "team work." We all went through our ups and downs trying to keep the environment clean and pristine. We devoted our time, energy and effort for it and now, it's part of our success. Like the saying stated, "Teamwork makes the dreamwork."

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