We meet many inspirational people in our work – Linda Cruse is definitely
one of those people.
Linda trained as a nurse and has traveled to 16 countries in 12 years – with just one suitcase.
Now she has written a book about her experiences – some of which were pretty challenging! The books called “Marmalade and Machine Guns”
‘Volunteering’ is not for everyone. There are times when it doesn’t
fit, such as when you are busy raising a family or in the thick of
progressing your career, but there are windows in many people’s
lives when it is the perfect answer, even though the idea may not
have taken shape in their minds. I spent years in a job that had no
meaning other than its ability to put food on the table. That is how
it is for many people. And, for us, the ‘mid-life crisis’ strikes a
particularly hard blow. I think of it as an expression of the soul’s cry
for meaning: ‘What is it all for?’ ‘What do I really want to do?’ If
you don’t articulate that cry, anatomise it, and respond to it then you
could be heading down a one-way street to depression. A whole
generation of young-at-heart baby boomers have come to this
moment in their lives. Some may be straight off down the road to the
Harley-Davidson dealer, others might be reading Eat, Pray, Love for
all they’re worth. But there are those who decide to embrace change
in an active way, with both hands. Better off than their parents had
been at their age, and with a wealth of leisure time at their disposal,
they cast around for a meaningful way to spend their time.
You can decide to be a volunteer or mentor without whizzing
off to far-flung places. Certainly, what I chose to do wouldn’t
suit everybody. There is a real need for mentorship at home, in
every community. And the more people put their hands up, the
more that ripple effect spreads.”
In Thailand, after the 2004 tsunami, Linda developed what was to be her trademark skill: the ability to broker powerful partnerships between large businesses and local charities (NGOs). This has brought praise from spiritual, commercial, and political leaders all over the world. Linda also helped individual families to battle their feelings of hopelessness and to find new livelihoods. Her work is inpsired by the idea of giving ‘hand-ups’ rather than ‘handouts’.