Gail Hills — Seaforth, ON

From Sri Lanka 2011

Her arms were brimming over and her nose was just above the bundle containing her bedkit. Her eyes were as large as saucers and sparkled in wonder. Then, as the pile slipped forward for her mother to catch, there was a smile that melted your heart as no other could.

As a first-time travelling volunteer this has been the most amazing experience and emotional roller-coaster you can imagine. We distributed 4,000 bedkits in seven locations to exuberant children who were so grateful we were humbled. Their warmth, kindness, and total acceptance of us, placing beautiful hand-crafted flower garlands around our necks, kneeling at our feet and only rising when we gently touched their heads, caused us to catch our breath and surreptitiously wipe away our tears.

From Sri Lanka 2011

One father who helped us bring in the bedkits would take my hand every time he passed me and thank me so passionately for all our assistance, caring, and generosity that I was speechless.

When we entered one of the poorest schools we were greeted like rock stars. The children cheered and clapped. We even gave each other joyous double-handed waves before lighting the friendship lamps which always preceded each bedkit distribution.

These wonderful people have so little, yet give you so very much every time you meet them.

When time permitted we played with the children with beach-balls and frisbees — and on one memorable occasion, an impromptu dance.

In return they gave us tea, desserts, and unconditional love.

Life is about building bridges and not walls … in this way you’ll always be, and have, a friend.

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