What Have You Done Today to Make You Feel Proud?

Warning:

Don't read this post, unless if you are either:
- a dreamer
- an idealist
- a sentimental fool
- a humanitarian aid or development worker
(Hmm, I guess I qualify for all of the above).


Are you ready for this? Ok, here we go...

1. "Have You Made a Difference Today"?
I once had a boss in Uganda, who said: "Every day, we -humanitarians- need to ask ourselves 'Have I made a difference today?' Unless if your answer is 'Yes', it was a lost day."
This stuck to me. Not only for work, but also for life in general.

2. Even More So:
Life gives us a lot. It is my belief we need to give back at least as much as we get from life. By changing or influencing the lives of those around us. Not just family, friends. Not just our loved ones. Add our colleagues at work. And people we meet occasionally. We *can* have a positive impact in the lives of those we interact with. Even if it was just a little. Even if it was just for a second. But it does make a difference. Even if it was just a well-meant 'Thank You' to the cashier at the supermarket.
[By now you probably think I am some sort of wool-socked retired hippie on a 30-year-long high. I can tell you, I Am Not High.]

3. The World Gave Me a Present Today
This morning, I uploaded some videos onto YouTube. The system automatically displayed some 'Related Videos'. One of them was labeled 'Kenya Floods Air Relief Operation'. Caught my eye. It was a three minutes video about an airlift operation transporting food for the North Kenyan flood victims.
This video sent shivers down my spine. In its simplicity of pictures combined with the music ('What Have You Done Today to Make You Feel Proud?'), it sent out several messages. Messages that reminded me of the two points above. And a message the author was clearly engaged with the work he did.


4. A Chat with Alastair.
The author turned out to be Alastair Cook, a WFP logistician working in Kenya. I did not know him, so I looked him up.

Here is his story:
"
I work as a consultant specialising in logistics in WFP. I basically do short term assignments anywhere in the world where staff is needed at very short notice (usually emergencies). I started with WFP in Malawi and have performed tasks related to School Feeding and HIV/Aids projects. Recently I worked here in Kenya for both the drought and the flood emergencies.
I make the videos because when I return home to New Zealand, people ask me 'What was it like?'... Of course that is an almost impossible question to answer, so I say: 'I can't really tell you but I can show you'... After the video they usually ask more meaningful questions!
I make the videos because I usually work in very remote locations and I find it a very rewarding pass-time during the long evenings... My best work is the two videos about the impact of HIV/AIDS in Malawi. We presented them to the Gates & Clinton Foundations, and they pledged $1m to the project!
"
Talking about making a difference... Alastair's other videos, you find here

5. And If That Was Not Enough of Inspiration For Today...
Here are the lyrics of the song in Alastair's video:
"Proud" by Heather Small

I look into the window of my mind
Reflections of the fears I know I've left behind
I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending
I am on my way
Can't stop me now
And you can do the same

What have you done today to make you feel proud?
It's never too late to try
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
You could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Still so many answers I don't know
Realise that to question is how we grow
So I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending
I am on my way
Can't stop me now
And you can do the same

What have you done today to make you feel proud?
It's never too late to try
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
You could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel proud?

We need a change
Do it today
I can feel my spirit rising
We need a change
So do it today
'Cause I can see a clear horizon

What have you done today to make you feel proud?
So what have you done today to make you feel proud?
'Cause you could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
So what have you done today to make you feel proud?
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
What have you done today
You could be so many people?
Just make that break for freedom
So what have you done today to make you feel proud?

Yep, you can call me an idealist, a dreamer and a sentimental fool. But hey, if I wasn't that, I wouldn't be an aid worker, probably... Now off you go, and do something good in this world...

7 comments:

Klari 28 March, 2007 10:10  

I completely agree. Problem with these kind of feelings, they're very hard to write down in a non-cheesy way: but i think you did a great job.
Love your other posts/stories/rumbles as well.
Cheers,
K.

Anonymous,  07 October, 2007 19:38  

i love that song!

Roxanna Samii 11 August, 2009 14:26  

You are a very special person. I am really lucky to know you.

Peter 11 August, 2009 15:10  

Tnx Roxy... The discovery of the Social Media / Twittering lot of you since May, has been heart warming too.. Makes me feel like "we're not alone here"... ;-)

michelle 22 June, 2010 18:55  

I guess I qualify for all of the above as well... It would be a pleasure to have more people like you in my life.

michelle 22 June, 2010 18:57  

I guess I qualify for all of the above as well... It would be a pleasure to have more people like you in my life.

M

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