Volunteering at the Christian Benefit Shop is a ‘home away from home’ because I enjoy the company of all the volunteers and staff so much.
The work environment is an open one where I meet many people on a daily basis. Some of those people/customers are now my friends just because of the simple interactions we have where I’ve engaged in their decision-making to buy an item shoes or clothing. For example, when they try on things, they normally ask me if the item is good. I always compliment them with comments like: “Ooooh, it fits well,” “the color is so nice,” “the price is not bad.” With such comments they end up telling me how they love coming to our store.
The way staff manage the store so well makes me have a desire to open a thrift store in Uganda. Unfortunately, most people back home use their items until they are worn out.At CBTS I feel my communication skills have improved since I am able to greet donors and thank them for donating. Likewise, with customers, as I am able to thank them for their purchases.
The work of MCC and all its workers (including the committed volunteers) who offer their energy and time continue to inspire me. This work means that MCC is able to accomplish its mission by reaching out to those in need, and I am glad that Africa is included in that mission.
I feel passionate about my host family and I am so grateful that they agreed to take care of me. In terms of raising children they are a live example. I have learnt here that bringing up children is a role of both parents, unlike in the African tradition, which views bringing up children as a woman’s role.
Although we grow coffee back home, I had never tasted it because we do not have access to the bean grinder, and it can use a lot of firewood trying to dry the beans. Now I don’t feel like missing a cup of coffee at any time. One day I had three cups of coffee due to the cold weather (which I hope is almost passed), but the end result was having a “sleepless night,” which is among my memories while here in Canada.
I have now adjusted to using machines since it’s the way to go here, for example: microwaves, ovens, and dishwashers, among others that I have found to be less time consuming (efficient).
To my fellow IVEPers, they say that this chance comes once so please let us utilize the little time we have remaining to learn a skill that will benefit someone back home. You may not need that skill yourself but there may be someone else who needs it. I know some of our communities are eagerly waiting to listen to our stories and learn from us. We are lucky here that they do a lot of baking, knitting, and crafting, among other things. Get one of those skills to take with you back home. I am learning how to play piano just because there is need in my mother church back home.
I think I can now pack away my jacket, gloves, scarves, and hats. Sometimes I laugh at myself remembering what I would need to cover myself during winter. I never thought of the sun shining and being a little bit hot like it is in Uganda.
I think there is a reason why God allowed me to participate in this program. Back home we have no electricity so whenever I go to sleep my heart could tell me that I need to read my Bible, but I could excuse myself by saying that I had no light. I would say I can only read the Bible during the daytime, which was not enough time because during the day we are very busy attending to home chores and so on. Now I have no excuse here since electricity is on 24/7 and I have enough time to read my Bible whenever I want. This is something that has made my faith grow stronger than ever. I also appreciate Tim, the general manager of CBTS, for the daily verses he shares with us during our morning meetings. I feel blessed.