Before actually partaking in community service, I always thought of it as a means of overworking students for the employers to save money, but after actually getting myself involved in it…I realized that doing community service is actually a privilege for us the volunteers. It gives us an opportunity to gain experience, widen our skills and get a better understanding of the hard labour and it is a process that essentially goes into the outcome of a product or service. Community service has literally made me realized how little I contribute to my country, how little I know about my country and has brought to my attention and conscience that I should try my best to assist more—free of wage—in the continuous growth of my economy. Doing my service at St. Rose Nursery, has opened my eyes to the not so easy process of growing flowers, plants and trees; for example how important fertilizers are and what a big difference the right fertilisers make—and also the different types of fertilizers and their functions . Before I never really understood the beauty of them nor did I realize how much work went into nurturing and harvesting them, but now I am more aware and more concerned about the health of trees and how they are treated and even situated in a pot or the ground.
On my first day at St. Rose Nursery, I was given a tour of the compound and while getting the tour, I could not help but feel relaxed and free. The ambience of the nursery changed my mood and thought completely; it had me wondering why do we stress out ourselves? Also it made me realize that I should take time to get in touch with nature and myself. After being introduced to the employees, I felt intimidated because I was the only female surrounded by five males so I saw that as a challenge in terms of them underestimating me and my abilities but after talking to them for a little I felt right at home and was able to be myself and even challenge myself by learning to pot plants, fertilize them and water them all in one day. They were all so helpful and very explanatory and took the time to show me exactly what to do before I did it, at the end of the day I excelled and accomplished far more than they expected; the good energy at the nursery led me to spend longer hours there than I actually expected to spend per day.
Throughout my time at St. Rose nursery, I would like to believe that I have brought a youthful and eager emotion to the compound; despite the fact that we worked in separate areas. I believe that I have shown them that a woman can be productive in the nursery field and can also keep up with their speed and even surpass them; I stared of potting only 1 plant per 2 minutes and by the end of the day, I was able to plant 2 plants per minute—it was fun and we turned it into a game—I observed the workers fertilizing the plants and heard the headman tell him that he was applying too much so I made an attempt to fertilize the next batch of plants and was told that I had done a good job! Not too much and not too little; I felt pleased and proud of myself—I had done better than someone who had much more experience in that field than me.
It is funny how one can assume that plant nurturing to be a simple and senseless skill, well I learned the hard yet interesting way that it is far from simple and a lot of thought and precision goes into the whole process, from the pot the plant goes into, the climate & atmosphere and type of soil that it is planted in. I have learned from this experience that it is possible to push myself a bit further when trying to accomplish a certain task in a given amount of time, I have learned that I am far more patient than I thought and most importantly I have learned that I personally stress myself over minor issues instead of taking time to breathe, relax and find a solution for it; through this I have come to the conclusion that I should find more time to clear my mind and possibly do something that I find interesting, productive and selfless to release my stresses of life. I have learned that even though I am an introvert, working with people is not that bad after all it just takes getting used to them and knowing how to work to suit all their different personalities. I also learned that working with other people really helps to get more work done faster.
I honestly can say that I enjoyed the interaction with people who were not of my norm; I enjoyed the whole learning about new trees and their fruits, smells, blooming and reproduction time. I enjoyed planting and reposting plants and most importantly I enjoyed the view of the surroundings. This endeavour was a challenging one in terms of patience and precision but in the end it all paid off, because I was blessed with the opportunity to enhance my gardening skills and was given the opportunity to be social with people who I would normally be afraid to talk to or even be around.
Before transposing myself into the real life community service equation, I thought to myself and made an oath to myself that my main aim was to simple complete my thirty hours of community service as fast and as soon as possible, but after starting and observing the nursery, I realized that it would provide me with far more knowledge and far more fun and experience than I expected and I realized that it would be in my best interest to use it to my advantage to gain a greater skill.
I believe that service to others is important because it is a good way to give back to the community and also to increase one’s level of experience and variation. I believe in my distant future I would once again volunteer my time to another estate to expand my comprehension and also to help improve my community and help improve myself as a person. The people at the St. Rose Nursery are very hospital and down to earth, to the point where I can honestly say that there is nothing I would change about their mannerism.
To potential volunteers, I would like to advice them to go into the experience open minded and willing to learn. I would also suggest that they find something that is within their comfort zone or something at that they at least have a strong interest in learning or have a passion for, simply because if one does something that they do not like or will not like, then they will not enjoy the experience to the fullest and similarly if one does something that seemed interesting to them before they actually partook in it, then they would draw from that experience that it is simply not something they would like to do in the future and would have learned a valuable lesson.