When I hopped on the plane to come to this beautiful place, I was pretty wrung out. I figured I had two and a bit weeks of intenseness to go and then could give myself a slight breather over Easter before getting back into swing of things well and truly.
I hadn’t thought about what it would personally mean to me. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to go and put my gifts to use in a country like Nepal, but it hadn’t really occurred to me that I might be changed personally by this trip.
I hear amazing stories of inspiring people overcoming odds everyday, it’s part of my job and, sometimes, it’s easier to forget that these are actual people, with real stories and a face to put to the name.
But when you’re in front of that face, there’s no denying the impact of the person’s story on you and your need to respond.
One of the most powerful things of being part of a Global One trip is being able to reflect as a group and gather your thoughts collectively on the things you have experienced. I’ve been blessed to have been part of a group of ten amazing women, led by Matt Darvas who is fortunate to currently call Nepal his home, and the thoughts that have been shared in this group have been life changing.
We have challenged the traditional mentality of poverty coming from a lack of material goods or wealth, worked through hard times as people felt overwhelmed with the task ahead of them after being moved by what they had witnessed and shared some personal reflections along the way.
The thing that has stayed with me front of mind has been the notion that we may not be able to change things ourselves, and it might take longer than we would like, but just because we’re one person, doesn’t mean we’re not making an impact.
One night after an amazing but exhausting day interacting with communities, we shared a story about a young girl throwing back starfish after starfish on a beach where thousands were stranded. Here is an excerpt, but you can read the full story here.
A young girl was walking along a beach on which thousands of starfish has been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for quite some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl listened, then bent down and picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then, smiling, she looked up at the man and replied, “I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and, inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon, others joined and all the starfish were saved.
This story has stuck with me for the past week and it has reminded me of why I am passionate about my work and have always been interested in why we must do our part to help those in poverty.
My mind has been brought back to my first experience with poverty when I visited Cambodia ten years ago on a school service project. I had no idea what was in store for me career-wise, but it’s amazing to look back and see where those first seeds were planted in my life.
The challenge for me, as for all participants on this trip, will be bringing that renewed passion back home and keeping it going. I’m lucky enough that I’ll be in an office where I will be able to put this into action everyday, but I know I’ll need to remind myself about some of the experiences I have had on this trip in order to keep my motivation levels high and my energy up. It’s a part of life, but gee-whiz, are we lucky to have it!
Image: Photos are my own; Quote – Pinterest