Nourishing the Soul, MEMORABLE VACATIONS

Our vacation time is valuable, especially since many of us have as little as a week or two worth each year.

Why not make this short time a memorable one? You can lie in the sun and gain 10 pounds any time, but what about doing something good for the soul? Like spending your vacation as a volunteer?

That is what one Tumbler Resident is doing this November. Rob Mandeville, is off to Cambodia. Kind of a spur of the moment decision on his part, after requesting some time off for a wedding at the end of October, he decided to extend the time off and hop on a plane and get some sun in before the winter. Not content with just going on a vacation though, he has decided to add in some days of volunteer work at two orphanages in Cambodia though.

The decision to go on the trip was a spontaneous one, the decision to volunteer though was not, he has done this before. Rob looked at his destination and then decided to combine his interest in photography with his desire to something for this impoverished part of the world and then he got on his computer and searched out a match. Within days found that match with the Sunrise Children?s Village (Phnom Penh & Seim Reap) and with Geraldine Cox, the director there. The orphanage is in need of some high quality photography of their operation and children that they can use on their website and fundraising materials. Rob is going to spend several days doing that photography for them, and then several more weeks when he returns home working on those photos on his computer to prep them for use by the organization. In addition, his 8 year old niece, Caitlin Payne is gathering clothes from her friends and classmates for him to take to the orphanages children and Rob?s friends & family and Action Safety & First Aid are kicking a total so far of about $750 for the orphanages operations.

Deciding to volunteer on a vacation is not a first time thing for Rob, but it may not be for everyone.

One of the hardest decisions is deciding in how much time should you give? It?s best if you can spend three weeks to a month to really benefit from the experience. It takes time to get involved. But if you don?t have the luxury of a long vacation there are worthwhile short-term projects of two weeks or even less. There may be an option of continuing something close to home after your vacation is over.

Being confronted with the brutal side of poverty can be overwhelming. Volunteering is definitely not a resort vacation, and if you absolutely can?t do without your hair dryer, then this is not an option for you. Expect to live at the local standards. This could mean no running water, or sleeping with eight other people on the floor. Expect feelings of guilt, shock, depression, but don?t let these feelings overwhelm you. Remember, you can?t change their lives in two weeks or even two years, but you can contribute a little, even if it is only making someone feel that another person cares.

The French have an expression for this kind of vacation, ?Le Voyage Utile? (the useful vacation). It can give you the chance to discover a side of yourself and the world that you never knew existed.

Volunteering can forever plant the seed of empathy in your heart which can grow into a lifetime of compassion for others.

If you are interested in helping out you can contact Rob at