Guest post by Ladislau Papara. Ladislau is an EDC employee who has been working for CARE India on the Cashew Value Chain Initiative since April.
It has been 3 days since I have returned to Canada from India, where I have worked and lived the last four months. It is eerie to return and see the leaves fall, given that when I left in April the trees were barely in bloom. Time has since passed really fast, but I feel it has passed in a productive way: I have delivered on all the things CARE India requested, including a business plan outlining viable solutions for the future of the four cashew units, as part of the Cashew Value Chain Initiative.
“It certainly makes a difference to this one”
As I reflect on my experience, I remember a short story that I had read in the book The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander. In this story, a man walking on a beach littered with starfish, notices from a distance a young girl picking them up one by one, and throwing them back in the water. As he gets close, the man lightly mocks her: “There are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see, for miles up the beach. What difference can saving a few of them possibly make?” Smiling, the girl bends down, and once more tosses a starfish out over the water, saying serenely, “It certainly makes a difference to this one”.
I have no illusion that my contribution was small, but I hope I have made a difference. I did not set out to change the world but to make it just a little bit better. In the end, I came away from my experience having met interesting people, and understanding the complexity of India a bit better. From CARE India’s point of view the business plan I created is crucial because it demonstrates the viability of the 4 cashew units, and will be implemented to raise funds from Walmart as the 2nd phase of development in the project.
I take with me the stories of the women in the cashew business that have welcomed me so graciously and have opened up to me about their challenges. Being able to visualize a better future for their children by participating in this cashew initiative is something that makes them very happy and very proud. I reflected on this happiness during my stopover in Frankfurt on my way back home, where in a store display I saw a $30,000 watch. Looking at it I realized that material comfort does not equal happiness, something the women I worked with India showed me. Personally, one of my happiest moments was the simple act of making paper planes (after running out of gifts) for the children of the workers, and seeing them gleaming with joy as they played with them.
As I conclude, this experience would not have been possible without the help of many people. I wish to thank my entire Aerospace Team including my Director David Rowsell for their support, my VP David Guy, Kat Pipin, Yolanda Banks, and EDC as a whole for supporting this partnership program with CARE. I am also grateful to all my CARE Canada and CARE India colleagues, and last but not least all the EDC colleagues that have supported me through this initiative, either by following my blog or by sending me kind words. Thank you.
What’s your legacy?
You can help support CARE Canada’s programs worldwide by making an online donation, or taking part in CARE’s different events and councils. Upcoming initiatives include the YogaAid Challenge September 9, I Am Powerful Councils recruitment, and the Walk in Her Shoes Challenge. Join in today!