August 10, 2008

Shiny Happy People

There are estimated to be 100,000 volunteers here. And they are all young. In a country of 1.3 billion people, there's no shortage of labor -- even for free.

But what gets me about these volunteers is how eager they are. How earnest. How hard they try. They have rehearsed and practiced their scripts and even the lowest of volunteers and works will say "hello" in English. It's amazing. And if they can't help you, they find someone who does.

We have a new bus volunteer, and each day he has become more bold with his announcement. He's polishing his routine. Ad-libbing a bit. "Hello! I am your bus volunteer. Today we are making two stops the MPC and the IBC. The trip will take 15 to 20 minutes. Please ask me without hesitation if you have a question. Remember to take all your belongings."

We figured that by now, day six or whatever (really, I've lost count) that the smiles would fade and the attitudes would appear, but that hasn't been the case at all. Whatever we need there is someone -- or several someones -- available to try to help.

It's kind of cool.

This New York Times story paints a pretty accurate picture.

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