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Friday, 27 May 2011

A sense of community.....

Among the motorcycling fraternity anywhere on earth, the sense of community is pretty strong.  Two complete strangers on bikes meeting up at a remote spot is almost always a cue for a friendly conversation, irrespective of background and the type of bike.  About 10 years ago, I came across a patched gang member miles from anywhere whose bike had broken down.  Thought hard about stopping but did anyway, not without some worry.  Turned out he had a broken throttle cable and I was able to make a temporary repair and get him going again.  He was desperate to pay me with money or drugs (!!!) but we settled on him paying it forward if he found anyone in a similar position.  It made me think at the time that with the pace and culture of modern life, outside of motorcycling; perhaps some of that spirit in the world has ebbed away over time.

It was a post today by fellow Kiwi blogger Nick which made me think about the subject again.  He remarked that his elderly Mum and Step-father have been volunteers, delivering Meals on Wheels to senior citizens for several decades.  Jennie and I are volunteer computer tutors for senior citizens in our area of the Coromandel Peninsula and sometimes, we struggle to run courses because it's so hard to get more than a couple of people together at a time.  Must admit that it's been extremely frustrating and we recently tried to find out the reasons for the apparent apathy.  The reasons were rather humbling actually!  Despite an average age of maybe 70, virtually all these people belonged to several community support organisations of one sort or another and time certainly didn't weigh heavily on their hands with all their commitments!  The old saying, "Give a job to a busy person to get it done" was never more true.

We've only lived permanently in Coromandel (pop.1500) for just over 3 years and it's taken a fair bit of that time to realise that the huge amount of voluntary work behind the scenes is what makes it such a special place to live. 

Community BBQ at our place

Coromandel Community Xmas parade

Coming back to motorcycling and the sense of community among us, I wonder if that makes us more predisposed to voluntary work (even in the motorcycling field) as we get older and our lives become more settled?  Food for thought maybe....

6 comments:

  1. Geoff, I have always been taught that you get out of life what you put into it! I am a great beliver in giving, weather it be time, money, companionship, it doesnt matter. It takes the focus off yourself and points it in a different direction.

    During my marrige I sponsored 6 children through world vision. During the toughest times of my divorce and financial struggles I never stoped supporting them, even though i was almost broke and going backwards. I am glad I never stopped.

    Money does not make the world go round, good people is what keeps it turning. I too enjoyed Nics blogs.

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  2. Hey Roger, your sponsorship is an amazing thing to do, especially under the circumstances - that's fantastic. Money helps but you're right about people - giving a bit of precious time is what really pays off.

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  3. Very nice sentiment. We all can, and should, give more. Thanks.

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  4. Thanks Ken.. admittedly it's a whole lot easier once you've retired!

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  5. I would like to think that our choice of hobbies predisposes us towards volunteering...but I don't really think it is true. Of the many motorcycle groups that I am involved with on the fringes, very few people, or the group as a whole, volunteer much. On the other hand, the local Harley Owners Group spent most of the group riding time volunteering. Need to find a balance.

    I am glad you did stop and help with the cable. It is nice to imagine what good he went on and did for someone else, and how that might have changed someone else's life. :)

    -Lori

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  6. Hi Lori!
    I think that the age you are and the type of community you live in probably outweighs anything else. Age inasmuch that you have a bit more time to give something back and community in that out of the way places like where we live still have that strong sense of helping each other out.

    I'm glad I stopped too, it was a nice experience which I'd have otherwise missed and the potential for paying it forward is nice to imagine as well.

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