The road took us up steep slopes and down rocky patches of the road where rain had worn deep rivulets into the road’s surface, hugging the mountainside the road passed across a narrow ridge with the valley falling away either side, through villages, banana plantations and even a football pitch, driving through the goalposts!
After an hour’s journey along a bone-jarring route we arrived in the community we had come to visit. Almost as soon as we stepped out of the car we were greeted enthusiastically by one of the community members who welcomed us with a huge smile! We continued on foot up to visit the local community shop, a small shelter frame wrapped in tough hurricaone-proof tarpaulin almost hidden behind a run-down looking house.
The door was slightly ajar, and as we approached it was flung open and two delighted faces beamed at us ‘entrez, entrez!’. The dimly lit hut revealed two basic wooden shelves hosting pasta shapes, spaghetti, soap, drums of cooking oil, and on the floor, sacks of rice. The owner grinned at us and explained in passionate creole how pleased he was to have representatives of the organisation there in his shop. He pointed at his account book in his hand and expressed how he had been given a chance to improve his income through the grant he had received for the shop. It was not only him, but his family and the wider community that benefitted too, he continued, thanking us profusely and encouraging us to continue our work so that we could benefit other places and communities too. Our lives have changed’ he said, thanks to you.
Humbled by this outpouring of heartfelt thanks I was deeply moved. I feel it a great privilege to be working for an organisation that is transforming lives. Whilst it is not my actions that have directly benefitted this shopkeeper, it is amazing to be part of something that is making a real tangible difference.
As we turned to leave, I asked if I could take a photo and got out my camera. No, wait! the owner cried and ran out of the shop. He returned a few moments later brandishing their brand new painted shop sign and held it aloft above the doorframe for the photo. They waved us off on our journey, proudly standing at the door of their own independent business.