My Volunteer Story: Martin Rubino
Martin Rubino is one of our international volunteers and an Aurora Fellow from Enfield, Connecticut, that a three months volunteering job in Nicaragua, where hospitality of the good people struck a chord, showed him that the life of simplicity and hard work was fulfilling him. After that experience, he had the opportunity to be part of a construction project in Ohio, where he experienced similar kindness again, met his lovely wife, Sarah, and soon they knew that this way of life was something they needed to pursue together.
Martin and Sarah, both Aurora Fellows, will be bringing care to one of the most marginalized and hard to reach communities in Nzara, South Sudan, and share their knowledge with all the St. Theresa Hospital workers and other volunteers, like Matthew Jones.
Read more to know about his volunteer journey and what led him to giving the gift of time again.
In 2013 my boss allowed me to take a three months leave of absence to volunteer for a NGO in Nicaragua. There, I confirmed that a life of simplicity and hard work suited me well.
I find myself in Juba, South Sudan, awaiting the plane that will bring my wife and me on the final leg of our journey to St. Theresa Hospital in Nzara. From this vantage point I can look back at the many currents that have carried me thus far – the people, influences, and events that have shaped my life and directed my course.
I have many fond memories growing up in Connecticut, and still have true friends there. I received a great education from the superb teachers at Saint Martha School, Northwest Catholic High School, Providence College, and Columbia University. I got a job I enjoyed at the engineering firm Mott MacDonald, where I had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States and gain valuable experience on many aspects of construction projects. I must admit that I often take these privileges of a secure childhood, strong education, and a good job for granted. Above all, I am blessed with the constant love and support of my family that I have been able to rely on at every stage of my life, as well as the warm welcome of my wife’s family.
In 2013 my boss graciously allowed me to take a three month leave of absence to do bridge construction in Nicaragua with the NGO Bridges to Prosperity. There, I could confirm that a life of simplicity and hard work suited me well. More than anything else, the hospitality of the good people struck a chord in me because it was more than I could repay. This type of generosity from others can be humbling and difficult to accept. It requires some degree of giving up the perception that we have earned our keep or are in control of a situation. Gradually I have become aware that this process of letting go and opening up is important in many aspects of life, but its lessons take time to sink in and must often be repeated. Fortunately, in my life there have been no shortages of opportunities for a slow learner like me.
I experienced similar kindness soon after I returned to work in the United States, when I got sent to survey on a construction project in Ohio. The project lasted three years, but it soon felt like home thanks to the friends I made there. One of these friends was a nurse from West Virginia who married me last December.
One of the things Sarah and I bonded over was our desire to work for an organization like CMMB. As we planned our marriage we were also figuring out where in the world we would live. As we learned more about CMMB there was no doubt that it was the place for us; we would both be doing what we loved. Again, the theme of letting go and opening up became evident. It required stepping out into the uncertainty of deeper waters, then simply allowing the current to continue us along.
We are both overjoyed to finally begin this long-awaited chapter in our lives. To everyone who has been so kind to Sarah and me and helped us reach our goals, we send our heartfelt gratitude.
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