The expresso and pastry bar is a popular spot at Amma’s European programs. In Munich, the lines never seemed to end as the crowd quaffed lattes, expressos and cappuccinos the whole day long. From 9 am onward, every time I passed by, I saw the same crew hard at work, hour after hour. One day I offered some commiseration about the thousands of cups of coffee and intense long hours. The blonde worker, sporting a white chef’s hat, looked at me uncomprehendingly, and said, “It’s a joy, we love doing it.”
There were also non-stop waffle and crepe makers. Young children worked with their parents making change or cooking waffles on the grill. Their parents patiently guided them and the kids were very efficient and happy at their jobs.
A young man sat hour after hour in the draughty hallway of the staff quarters, providing security and directions. From morning to midnight he was found there except for short breaks for meals and vital needs. Again, I made the mistake of offering commiseration and thanked him. He actually looked insulted and said, “But I like it!” Who would expect someone to like sitting in hallway looking at wristbands all day and most of the night?
At every program people ask us how much we are paid to work at the program. “We’re volunteers”, we respond and watch the mouths drop. Or someone will ask in disbelief, “Are you all volunteers here?” Yes. From food preparation, frying samosas, baking pastries, selling the snacks, manning the bookstore, parking attendants, organizing the Q, and to dozens more jobs, everything is done by happy volunteers. Happy volunteers, who feel a deep sense of fulfillment in creating the Amma programs across the world and in serving people. Amma has repeatedly told us that real happiness comes from forgetting ourselves and serving others. More and more, we are getting that experience. It’s a joy!
Europe tour, 2013