Healing Volunteering

By: Rodheliz Tejeda Alemán,

Volunteer leader of night monitoring in Cabezas de San Juan

My name is Rodheliz Tejeda Alemán, I am from the town of Gurabo and I began my volunteering with Para La Naturaleza in 2022. Upon receiving the call for the Night Monitoring of Bioluminescence and Light Pollution, I saw an opportunity to resume and fulfill my wish as a teenager to volunteer. At that time, I could not enjoy the various activities. However, the universe was splendid with me and, as an adult, it gave me the opportunity to answer the call of nature.

When I think on what has motivated me to participate in volunteer events related to nature, the song “Siempre verde, siempre azul” by Burbujita y Bolillo quickly comes to mind, a song Mrs. Marta García (my Kindergarten teacher), played for us on Planet Earth Day. Thanks to her, I started my environmental activism, recruiting family members and people from the neighborhood to collect the garbage that was rather ordinary, but contaminates and destroys the only planet we inhabit. That event led me to be a more thoughtful and aware individual.

Just as it is important to study and learn about the natural and environmental sciences, I feel there is a void and a need for social and environmental activism. What I seek in volunteering, in addition to acquiring knowledge and experience, is learning about, and helping to document our ecological impact on the planet, pursuing a more respectful lifestyle and in harmony with the environment, supporting the search for solutions and being an agent of change by example. For this reason, I also consider that these volunteer events are the perfect space to get down to work, judge less and educate more. These events are important to create the connection with the only planet that sustains us and that is alive, so that there is an appreciation and consequently a desire and urgency to protect it.

Lastly, I must say that this volunteering has been healing for me, more than I could have wished for. I have nothing but gratitude for all the people I have met, it is an incredible learning experience. It has been a pleasure to meet people who share this same uncompromising passion with me, who give their time and effort out of love, and who fill the world with hope. Thank you for such a beautiful act of humility. As Don Juan Matus would say: “… This Earth, this beautiful being that is alive to its last traces and understands every feeling, has given me affection, has cured me of my pains; and finally, when I understood all my love for her, she taught me what freedom is.”

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