Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.
[a quote from a poem is just going to have to do for this one]
Today I’m the only intern at the Chalice office because the my fellow interns Ashley and Harumi have things they need to get done in Halifax before leaving for Peru in only 6 days [I’ll post more info about them soon so that you can get to know who I’ll be venturing to South America with]. My 1-hour bus ride to the office was pretty relaxing; the bus driver was friendly and talkative with everyone and we passed by some beautiful waterfront. I’ll be glad to return to the normal rideshare with Harumi tomorrow because, while I believe in public transit, NO, waiting outside at 7:15am for the bus is never going to be a favourite activity of mine.
Today I’ve been at a temporary desk in the International Finance office with my two Latina co-workers, Yaz from Colombia and Gabriela from Mexico (our co-worker Janet is on vacation–I hope she doesn’t mind me borrowing her desk for the day!). This office is much more comfortable than the one I’ve been sharing with Ashley and Harumi since it has an abundance of windows and boasts several beautiful plants (including a pretty hibiscus variety) and a colourful world map on the wall directly in front of me. As with all the offices in this Chalice ‘headquarters’, this one is decorated with artwork from various countries: a beautifully framed quote (“Do Good Anyway”, see below), photos, a handcrafted wooden wall clock, a colourful doll sporting a bright pink dress, a wooden carving of an elderly man…lots of things to admire in here and in the rest of the building.
After a week of training, I only have five weeks at the office, which were actually interrupted by a 3-day conference at UNB for an ACIC conference. I’ve been busy and have learned a lot about Chalice and I must say that I feel pretty lucky working here because the people are simply fantastic: caring, friendly, helpful, passionate about what they do, and full of love. We just celebrated the birthday of one of our co-workers with ice cream sundaes over the lunch hour, which was followed by a staff meeting about the changes which will be happening in the coming months within the NGO.
I am feeling a little stressed with all I have to do before finishing up at the office and I’m pretty tired, so sorry about the randomness of this post. This afternoon, my Latina co-workers are keeping me muy alegre with their occasional questions about English grammar (although their English is excellent, questions about prepositions are valid). We have a good chuckle every once in a while, but we are also getting our work done, no se preocupe (don’t worry). 😀
So what ‘work’ have I been doing at the office? A lot of the work I’m doing at the Chalice office involves video-making. Not filming, but making instructional videos; I’ll explain those projects in a bit. Apparently, those computer classes I had beginning at age 5 have served me well. I can think of some amazing IT teachers in Bermuda and Canada who sure taught the other girls in my school and I to have some awesome computer skills by the time we reached Grade 8. In Grade 9 and 10 we were lucky to have access to really fancy Mac computers to edit our movies and even experiment with music-making technology such as GarageBand. I always enjoyed IT and Media Arts classes, as well as using InDesign and Photo Shop throughout high school to help design and make the yearbook. I feel lucky for simply having been exposed to computers in an environment where I could learning from my peers, experiment by clicking on buttons (and then utilize the efficiency of Control-Z, i.e. ‘Undo’ an action if I’d made a mistake), and ask for help from a friend or a teacher if needed.
So…about that work I am doing…instructional videos include ones to be used by the 50 Chalice Sponsor Sites in the 15 distinct countries on 4 continents. I made a 10-minute video to explain how to install and use Box.com (a file sharing website) and today I’ll be making the Spanish version for the Latin American sites to use.
This morning my boss MaryAnne received an email from Regional Office for Latin America with the translations for three user manuals for a new program. For part of the morning I worked with Mercy from the IT department to do the Spanish audio recording for the first of the three English-language instructional videos she made. These videos will show the Sponsor Sites how to install and use a program which will allow them to fill in information about any new sponsor children. Up until now, time has been wasted in having the sponsor sites email the info, which then has to be re-typed when it is entered in the database in Canada. (Yay for efficiency and handing responsibility to partners abroad!).
I’ve also been editing and putting English subtitles to lots of video footage from a recent Chalice mission trip to Guatemala. I’ve heard all sorts of inspiring stories which demonstrate that the Guatemalans on site at the Sponsor Sites are hardworking and dedicate people who are making a lot of positive change in their communities [and I love their accents: when they say ‘que’ (kay), it sounds just like ‘qui’ (key) in French]. From mothers to young children, teenagers to elders, there is an overwhelming sense of gratitude which resonates through the facial expressions and words of all those who have been helped.
Young adults, many of whom were helped through sponsorship and now work as a accountants or computer programmers at the Sponsor Sites, constantly say that the combination of local programming at the Sponsor Site and support they receive from Canadian donors allows them to ‘seguir adelante’ (move forward, get ahead in life). With educational opportunities and valuable work experience available, they give thanks for the moral, spiritual and emotional growth they are experiencing, as well as the opportunity to be an example to their families and children in their community, and grow professionally. A dedicated 22-year-old named Francisco says all this support would not be possible if he and others worked for large companies.
Translating these videos makes me think back to the hours I spent watching footage filmed by big sponsor NGOs such as World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse…and then wondering if anyone was really helped using the money donated. I was convinced that the Christmas shoe-boxes I carefully packed and sent through Samaritan’s Purse ended up in the hands of deserving children, but how could I be sure about the monetary donations? Seeing the authenticity in translating and putting subtitles to the video footage is a humbling experience.
Dave, one of the volunteers at the office and a member of the group that went to Guatemala, told me that a Guatemalan told him that they were well aware that they were not the only poor people in the world, that they knew the world was filled with poverty. (It might sound obvious enough, but it is an interesting thing for him to have said, as someone who has probably never travelled outside of his native country). The man went on to thank Chalice for helping his community, for having chosen it among so many others. The gratitude of people with so little compared to the average Canadian (at least in terms of material possessions and access to public services, but not necessarily in terms of overall happiness) and their desire to continue helping others is a truly beautiful thing.
A quote by Mother Theresa adorning the wall in this office I’m in simply says: “Do Good Anyway”. Thanks to Google, I easily found the poem it comes from: “Anyway”. I’m told that it was reportedly inscribed on the wall of Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, and attributed to her. However an article in the NY Times has since reported (March 8, 2002) that the original version of this poem was written by Dr. Kent M. Keith. Nonetheless, I think it is quite fitting for the Chalice office and offers great advice for anyone, anywhere…
* * * * * * * * * * *
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.