Among other things, the Balkani Wildlife Society is working to save the local population of Hermann’s Tortoises in the area around Dragoman. To that end, a tortoise breeding center is being established near the Dragoman marsh. A couple weekends ago, I joined some other volunteers in Dragoman to work on the breeding center and build shelters for the tortoises. It was really just a typical day in the life of a Peace Corps volunteer, but it made me think about something all of us who do volunteer work should remember.
The direct beneficiaries of our work, the tortoises, will never recognize or thank us. The indirect beneficiaries of our work, the local people who hopefully will be able to enjoy tortoises again in the future, are unlikely to recognize or thank us. And that’s fine. In my opinion, volunteers should work without any expectation of recognition or thanks. The real reward is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are doing the right thing, and that should be enough.