Mark, 27, from the Netherlands, has been a valued member of the New Life community for the past five months. He can often be seen striding around by the lake in the mornings and afternoons, caring for our large family of ducks. In between travelling for the past five years, he spent some time working in Australia as a carpenter, giving English lessons at a Buddhist temple in Thailand, and learning Tai Chi at a monastery in China. In this interview, we chat to him about his experience as a volunteer at the foundation.
1. How did you come to be at New Life?
I found New Life through a friend from China whom came here as a volunteer earlier. When she told me about this place, I was enthusiastic and two months later I arrived here. New Life Foundation has a lot of things I’m interested in and I could combined them all together: the mindfulness which is the base of the whole foundation, psychology, yoga, meditation, sustainable agriculture, and community life. I also like having people from all different cultures and walks of life living and working together, it’s something I really like.
2. Did you have any expectations?
I didn’t really have any expectations. I came here with an open mind and a curious attitude. Expectations often lead to disappointment.
3. What is your most memorable and/or enjoyable moment at New Life Foundation?
I don’t have one moment in particular, but what I find most enjoyable here is community life, the environment and the simplicity. The little things that happened every day, like the small and open conversations, but also that you can be together with others enjoying the silence.
4. What kind of work do you do as a volunteer?
I started with mud building and agricultural work. After being here for a while I became team leader of the agriculture team. Until recently I took care of the ducks and collected the eggs every morning. And for the last two months, I facilitated the Social Anxiety Support group meeting once a week together with Carrie (New Life’s Yoga teacher). I also recently started giving tours to the new people that arrive at the foundation.
5. Do you have a message for future volunteers?
Here at New Life there is a great community with people from all nationalities and walks of life. It’s a great environment to slow down, reconnect with yourself, and accept and develop yourself.
* Many thanks to New Life volunteer M for this interview