I was reminded recently that there hasn’t been an update from Mercy Tech Mission for a while – since last June, to be exact – and I can only hide behind the excuse that it’s been an extremely busy summer for me since returning home from Africa. As some of you may know, when I’m not travelling with Mercy Tech Mission, I am busy running a small renovation business here in the Okanagan Valley, and this year has been busier than most. But the fall season is well upon us and there are a number of upcoming trips that I need to tell you about.
Due to some new government regulations, I had a difficult time getting myself a sim card for my phone when I first arrived in Swaziland. After two weeks of frustration I was finally able to make some progress at a local phone store in nearby Tricash. The application process is a lengthy one, and while I was waiting for her assistant to do the paperwork, the store clerk asked me why I was visiting the area. I explained about Mercy Tech and how my team of volunteers had come to teach employable trades to the local people. She asked me if this was my job and did my team get paid. I said no, we’re volunteers; we don’t get paid to do this.
She stared at me. “You don’t get paid?”
During the recent winter Olympics in South Korea, the world’s attention was on the athletes who have trained so hard for a chance to show their skills to the world, and potentially qualify for a medal – preferably gold.
Gold, silver, bronze – they are all medals of distinction for the winners and out of all who compete, very few contestants receive them. Yet my wife made the observation that in certain situations (such as a hockey game, eh?), “winning” silver actually means you’ve lost the game. And when you see the disappointment on the team faces, you’d almost think that a silver medal was a disgrace. It’s funny how something so unattainable for most of us can carry such a weight of regret for others.