I just heard of a terrible accident. Six young people died in a car crash. they were volunteers with un techo para chile and were on their way to work when it happened.

it hit me very hard. I’ve been a volunteer for nearly 2 years now, working towards a better world, better quality of life for our people and it has been an incredible journey. It’s been amazing and life-changing. I love it,even if it’s hard,time consuming and all that.

I’ve heard people say that UTPCH is like a cult, because we’re always there, always talking about it, often time putting it above school and family and all that. Once you’re in, it’s really hard to leave. I first worked with them back in early 2000’s, and a  guy I knew was there already. when I returned in 2010, he was still there.

It’s hard to explain why it’s so addictive. It’s fun, there’s new people and experiences,  it gives you a chance to truly feel important,active. when you’re slaving away at school, sometimes you feel like it’s all pointless. sometimes life feel pointless. but when working there, it never feels pointless. we may not be able to end poverty but we can do something about it.

we can help people. and not by giving money or signing a petition or something, but we take an active role, and we get to actually meet the people we help. we get to know them, to learn about their lives,even to be a part of them.

all volunteers agree, that you get a lot more than what you give. you may build houses,teach them skills,help kids with their homework, but you get… I don’t even know how to put it. it’s like life points. I feel like doing this makes you understand why we live in a society. most of the time I want to go live in a cabin in the woods, but working at utpch makes me realise the whole point of living in society. I feel like it makes me understand how to be a better human. 

I feel like I have grown so much there. I’m incredibly socially awkward but being there, with all these people around me, I feel like I can almost function as a human being. I feel like it has helped me with my awkwardness around people. 

I’ve never felt like I fit in or belong anywhere, but at utpch I kinda do. I don’t feel judged or being awkward or weird.  family,school, all your background doesn’t really matters. you matter. how you behave. you work hard, you talk to people and you find you have a place there. you can do as much or as little as you want. you are encouraged to go to the office even if it’s just to hang out. it doesn’t matter why you are there, as long as you are. some do it cause they want to help, others cause it looks good on a resume or cause they wanna escape their family. it hardly matter how you get there. all that matters is that you’re there and that you work.

There, I feel like I am doing something important. it might be small, but it is important. and there’s something for everyone. if you have the will, there’s a task, a place for you.

There’s all kinds of people, and I think they’re all nerdfighters,even if they don’t know it. they are all people fighting to make the world better. and that work, somehow, makes you better.

I have a lot of memories of being hungry,thirsty,wet,cold,sleepy and unbelievably tired. it was during one working there I understood the phrase “when there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire” and they are some of my happiest memories.

It scared me to death,going to a place where I knew practically nobody, where I didn’t know if I would even be able to be useful, I kinda felt like I’d get in the way and make a fool of myself.

but I didn’t. and I didn’t chicken out and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

So now I feel really sad for these six kids cause I might not have known them, but I know plenty of kids like them. utpch volunteers. and I feel sad for them dying. cause in a way, it feels like they were friends. 
Fear cuts deeper than swords

January 2013

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