I was very fortunate recently to be able to attend a gala dinner for one of our Charity partners FeViva. It was a wonderful evening, full of inspiring stories from many people who have had the enlightening experience of traveling to Central America to get involved with FeViva projects. A team of West Kelowna fire fighters went to work alongside local firemen and bless them with gifts of precious equipment. Teams have gone to participate in local fundraising marathons. A local charity team member carried a severely disabled girl up a volcano in a specially designed chair. Anyone is welcome, as the most important task is just to hug the children in FeViva’s care.
The story that resonated with me the most was about doors! One gentleman had gone to Guatemala with high expectations. He was born in Mexico so was aware of what to expect, yet he has since grown up in Canada and is now a finishing carpenter. Due to his trade skills he was invited to help finish the construction of a family home; specifically to hang the doors. Easy he thought, that’s right up my street, I do this all the time and I will get this done in no time. He challenged himself to focus on the job, get it done as quickly as possible and move on to the next task because getting things done was important to this team! Two days and only 3 doors later he had to rethink his predictions. This was a developing country. Humidity, walls out of line, poor wood, lack of conformity in size, exhausting heat...the list went on and on. This story made me think about the challenges of trying to help in a situation and culture that is unfamiliar to us. We bump into challenges. We may have the best of intentions yet find road blocks that are beyond our control. Things may get so frustrating that we feel like giving up. Yet the outcome of the story of our carpenter I think says it all. Despite the obstacles he still made a difference. He did get some doors installed, maybe not quite the way he wanted, but that family will never forget that he came to help, asking nothing in return. He learnt that even if things don’t go as you expect it can still be a worthwhile and rewarding experience. We learn to appreciate and embrace the differences in our cultures and come to understand that a hug and a helping hand can bridge the gap.