Empowering Memories of Volunteering with the New Zealand Red Cross

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire-Author Unknown

Today is Good Friday.

I have been doing a lot of self-reflecting and more importantly self-development and education. A reflection that really highlighted my volunteering career with New Zealand Red Cross is the continuous commitment, dedication and sacrifices I have made to resettle the new refugee families into Porirua City over the last 6 years-just thinking about it all made me smile so often. The earliest memory of having to finish work the nights of the pre-arrival week and going around to the houses with my torchlight to finish setting up and tidying the place up. I would come home just after midnight with the bags of assorted household goods and be up again the next day to continue with my other jobs.

The act of volunteering became a personal drive and passion. It became a dream and goal to want to contribute to philantrophy in that sense with giving my time, services, skillsets and knowledge instead. I’ve become so disciplined. I am driven by my goals, aspirations and dreams. I’ve become so focused on actions that would lead to achieving those goals that I would always find a way around an obstacle. But I also believe that time plays an important role in every dreams and goals.

Being a humanitarian and philanthropist is a true goal-it is one of my 6 goals that is posted proudly on my vision board, in my kitchen pantry where a little stash of chocolates hide, in my tropical summery bedroom, in my creative quiet writing room where I would hide away from the world. The benefits of giving back to the community have been empowering in every way; the friendships, the love and the hugs, the emotional gratefulness, the cultural exchange enrichment are only a small part of the blessings I’ve recieved. It has been so rewarding and satisfying in every way. The reciprocal effects and the paying forward mindset has empowered me to do more. I didn’t want to hang out with the same crowd. I wanted a different one; one that would challenge me and would enable me to grow through it all.

It would be a little hard to imagine that a young village woman would have that mindset in the western world. But my parents have always taught me the true values of giving back to the community. It often haunts me at times.

A recent (4th March 2017) social media post that I had posted to the PORIRUA page which has more than 26,000 members attracted more than 600 likes and many positive, wonderful comments from the community I live in. It is incredibly heart-warming to see the support of so many amazing people especially the Mayor of the City, His Worship Mike Tana to my grateful note:

Kia Ora Porirua,

I would love to commend and honour the owner and staff of Zayaz Kebabs at Mungavin! Being an active and tireless Red Cross volunteer for the last 6 years in Porirua, I’ve had to resettle a few refugee families in the Porirua area. Most of the years, I’ve had to cook food to share and welcome them to our city in their new homes.

Yesterday was different-I have not had any sleep for more than 24 hours and it was just so busy. The young man at the shop generously poured his heart out to pack extra hot food and halaal meat for the new family arriving-all for free to cater for the newbies!!! He told me he understood. He even carried everything to my car and packed my car and sent me off. I had tears-it was overwhelming getting help from complete strangers without having to pay for anything.

Thank you! If you are reading this gratitude note-thank you from the bottom of my heart. In times like yesterday, when I thought there wasn’t going to be angels floating around to rescue me, my faith in the Porirua Community especially business owners was restored. I have lived in the Porirua Community for 17 years and have loved this place-everybody recognises the need for humanity and to be able to contribute to it is very rewarding and satisfying. Arohanui.

In his recent speech at our local Residents Association Annual General Meeting for Paremata, His Worship Mr Tana spoke highly of the high performance the refugee/migrant children were performing at the local schools. Porirua City has become such a diverse multicultural community-so rich, so skilled and so active. Our young people have excelled on so many levels. It brought tears. It was so empowering to hear. Those volunteering efforts were all so worthwhile.

Howard Thurman the influential African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader reminds us with this conviction note:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

 

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