Globalteer’s Colombia Children’s Project has bid a very fond farewell to its longest ever serving volunteer. Michael Pedersen , a 37-year old volunteer from Copenhagen, Denmark arrived in Colombia for a three month volunteering placement back in November 2011, but he found his work so rewarding, and his life in Colombia so enjoyable that he just couldn’t drag himself away!
He ended up staying for a total of six months, splitting his volunteering time between the two children’s day centres that Gobalteer supports in the flower-filled “city of eternal spring”, Medellin.
After his emotional goodbyes Michael explained what a profound effect his volunteering trip had had on him and shed some light onto why he kept putting off his departure,
“I've developed new perspectives on who I am and who I want to be. First of all, I've come to appreciate how privileged I've been around all aspects of my life and around my childhood in particular. I've also come to appreciate how good it feels to give. I've come to appreciate how much fun it is having kids around. And I've come to appreciate what and who matter to me in life.”
In his former life, Michael was head of an anti-corruption initiative for the World Economic Forum in Geneva for four years, but decided to quit his "cushy" job in order to try and "give something back" to people who were less fortunate than him.
Michael worked as a volunteer four days a week for 6-8 hours each day, and in his spare time managed to squeeze in trips to the gym, weekly boxing, Spanish, and salsa dance classes, and a weekly Swedish massage!
John Segal, Globalteer’s volunteer coordinator in Colombia reports,
“Staff at both projects told me many times that Michael was the most responsible, caring, and mature volunteer they've ever had! I’m delighted that he'll be back to visit in a couple of months!”
If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering with Globalteer in Colombia – and discovering what it was that made it impossible for Michael to leave – please visit our Colombia Children’s Project Pages.