July 10, 2015

Day 640- Shiny eyes

We all talk about wanting to make it, wanting to achieve our goals and being successful at some point.  We all read and hear about super stars and champions. We all have some idea about the level of dedication and determination it takes to be a champion. Recently though, I started to question the very definition or idea of a champion. I mean sure we have the dictionary version and we see world champions in most sports but I’m talking about what it means to be a champion for an average, day to day individual. For some it  is all about the money, being able to buy a house and give children a private education. For others it’s about excelling in their field of expertise, advancing and developing professionally.  For me it is neither about the money or excelling up the hierarchy.  It’s more about dedicating and accomplishing everything possible in a field or for a cause.  It doesn’t involve silverware rather those of whom whose life changed will forever remember your worth.  Recognition is long lasting and the energy you spread is notable.  There’s no competition rather compassion and kindness.  A believe a true champion doesn’t need or want the world press, their work would be renounced and their name would spread to every household.

Something else I was thinking about was being amazing and how many people actually believe their amazing.  Its not very often you get asked- are you amazing? Imagine if we were and then imagine what or how you would answer that question.  Ok so we get the over confident and sometimes arrogant kinds of people who think their amazing and want every other living soul to know. I’m not talking about these people though.  I’m talking more about the humble, thoughtful but amazing people who don’t see that their amazing. These people perhaps are too modest to say their amazing and shy away from recognition. But I say it is these very people that need to know how amazing they are, it needs to be said and celebrated. Amazing comes in all shapes and sizes, from a great friendship to a forever helpful work colleague. We see the amazing in others but do we see it inside ourselves?

Something I find amazing are random conversations with someone I’ve just met. These encounters are very often enlightening, sometimes light hearted but thought provoking at the same time.  Before I set off on my travels, I didn’t use to invest or open up to such opportunities, I didn’t see the point, I mean it wasn’t like I was going to see this individual again. However, over the course of my travels I realised that whilst that was true that shouldn’t stop me from making the most of the now. I could still gain a lot from someone, from just one conversation in just that one moment. I guess it comes down to perspective but if we could stop thinking about the future and just live in the present moment, we would truly maximise every opportunity, every moment and see where it takes us. There are endless possibilities but we miss so many by not being fully present.  Many of us long for a connection but its a WiFi connection as a opposed to a real one. Some of us cant let a day go by without posting a update on Facebook.

Something else I’ve been thinking about is how much do we give? How much time do we give to others? How much money do we donate to a worthy cause? Are we blood donors? I believe that we are blessed with a lot, not just materialistic items but knowledge and experience too which can benefit others. But how many of us share this, how many of us care enough to invest and educate the youth of today? I think we all have something that we can give, something that could help or change the life of one person. We may not change the world, we may not save the planet but we can change the life  of one person, we can help one person with a random act of kindness. Some of us care a lot and want to do a lot but life gets in the way, work, family, relationship, commitment, education and so on.  We need many things, a balanced life is one thing but what we need is a little time to spread a little kindness.

For me spreading this kindness goes hand  in hand with appreciating the little things in life.  Sure enough when travelling you do, I have learnt to appreciate all the little things and what you eat, where you sleep or where you shower isn’t the most important. Whether or not you have WiFi is also no longer important. In fact,  electricity is no longer a necessity, here in South Africa, they have load shredding which means there is a planned power cut for 2 hours every so often. This helps regulates the electricity so all the states get some. Unheard of in England or most western countries but here its the norm. Central heating is scarce so lighting a fire or a hot water bottle is the way to go. I worked in various communities, with different cultures and whilst there are many differences, the common factor with each is, they may have very little but they all share everything they have. It is the norm to share a meal and never to waste food. People don’t complain, their far more grateful and they appreciate all the help they get.  Children are also taught at a very young age to be appreciative.

I love working with children the most. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with them or volunteered with them for the past ten years and there are things that I’m still learning. Children are not only very cute and sweet but there is also a innocence there. They don’t discriminate against other children, they don’t spread hatred, in fact often I see kids standing up for the younger one or looking after one. Every child is unique and special in it’s own way but all of them just want to be loved, they just want someone to care, someone to play with them, someone to give them attention. And in return what do you get? Abundance of love, hugs and smiles. I cant help but smile all day long when I’m surrounded by and working with children, it’s contagious. I love how their face lights up when they see you arrive, when you pick them up and then make them laugh. Sometimes I feel like their is no greater joy for me then to see a child laugh. I wish there was more of me so I could give every child enough time and my attention but this of course isn’t possible. But it is possible for me to take the time out to listen, to ensure I understand as much as possible what a child is going through to work with them.  There is nothing worse sometimes then being misunderstood or judged especially for a child. Every child is packed with potential waiting to be released into the world and with the right level of support, love and dedication they make it. Some however don’t, they don’t stand a chance and others simply get lost along the way. They say our childhood is important, its key in determining what we do with our life yet not enough is done.

I’ve volunteered in five countries, worked in various projects and each time I’ve loved it. I’ve worked with and communicated with children who didn’t speak English. I learnt a little Portuguese and Spanish to help communicate with children in Brazil and Paraguay. I’ve learnt though very often you don’t need to share a common language, you just need to share a common interest and it’s enough. At each project I could have and wanted to stay longer. Currently, volunteering with children in South Africa and I know it’s going to be hard to leave. I’ve already grown fond of several of the children and I know some of them are attached to me too.  Two weeks in and I feel at home, again. I’m a British Indian but I feel part African because my dad is from Tanzania and I’ve been to South Africa before.  I would love to explore and backpack through Africa but I don’t feel it’s safe for a solo female and I also feel now is not the time. I don’t have a favourite country or city, I have many highlights though. I also have a few places where I feel like home and that’s because of the people and energy. Many people say travelling is important, it is but it’s also good to volunteer abroad, to give something back but also to gain a great experience. Also it’s good to live in a city and appreciate all it has to offer. Working with children is hard work and exhausting but totally worth it because they radiate so much positive energy and love that you forget about your worries and real life drama’s.  Children really are taara zameen par– stars on earth.