Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saving Tortoises

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.


  1. I agree 100 %. You'll never feel good about what you are doing a volunteer if you are waiting for others to recognize your efforts!


  2. Hello Brian! I'm Andreea. We meet at Friends Hostel if you remember before you go to Moldova...I am the crazy old girl(25 years) with no job, with bad english and as favorite romanian dish: pasta and pizza :) Anyway.... I'm glad that I found your blog and I can read now every story that you share with us. I'd love to find our other 2 friends that were with you that night, and they were going to Istanbul the second day.Can you help me find them? It was great to meet you, guys! Romanian hugs for all of you.

  3. tortoises should not be captured, exported and sold in pet shops. I live in southern Bulgaria, and see them daily in the wild.