Hey there, my apologies for the delay. I didn’t forget about you!
I had written the part of this blog a while ago, but it didn’t feel right yet. As a copywriter, with a passion for storytelling, I want to make sure that I give you the best visual presentation of my experiences. The sad thing is, creativity cannot be rushed. It probably has something to do with the fact that I was one of the worst kids when it comes to spelling. However I write these blogs completely from the heart and my gut feeling.
A small update… By now, you know that I like to challenge myself all the time. So after the marathons it was time for something even harder. With all the turmoil in the world lately, I decided to take on a new challenge. The 75 hard program. This is not a fitness program, but a mental toughness program. The rules are simple, yet it is the toughest program I’ve ever done.
The rules per day:
– Do two 45 minute workouts, one should be outside, regardless of the weather.
– Follow a diet. No alcohol and no cheat meals allowed.
– Drink 3.8 liters (one gallon) of water
– Take a progression picture of your body
– Read 10 pages of a self-development book
Doesn’t sound too difficult right? You have to do this for 75 days straight and complete all 5 tasks. Every day. Did you forget one task? Start over on day 1. No excuses.
The program is created to build discipline and all the tough characteristics the world needs more than ever. No cutting corners. No 44 minute workouts. I am convinced that discipline equals happiness. That’s why I started it in the first place. 2020 hasn’t been particularly easy for all of us. I just want to make sure that I win on a daily basis and I encourage you to do the same! The moment I post my blog for you, I am on day 34.
Back to our food delivery road trip!
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I rarely run out of words. In fact, when you find me in bigger groups, I’m probably the one who’s always talking. And I can’t deny that I like to talk. But the unthinkable did happen…
I don’t think more than 50 words came out of my mouth that day.
And not just a regular orphanage. It was a place for blind, deaf or children with Down syndrome. And the reason they are here is heartbreaking.
Where we have tremendous support for everyone in the Netherlands, it is somewhat different here. The children are placed here simply because they are a liability to their parents.
When I’m reliving this moment, I feel the tears rushing down my face. The children do not make any money and need extra care, which means that they need extra nurturing and time. That’s a problem. With almost no support from the government, the orphanage is run by a handful of local amazing women who volunteered and look after the children.
There were about 50 children.
And the beauty of all, they learn all these different skills. They had a small computer lab where they learned English. They also learned to play the guitar, bake cookies and make soaps. The boy in the blue shirt in the picture below was an amazing guitar player!
Usually they would sell the homemade products to cover the costs of the orphanage for food, drinks and care for the children. But without tourism there is no income either.
Thanks to your help, we provided the children with food for more than 2 months! Songs were sung for us, they introduced themselves in English and we provided the children with a big bag of candy. You can understand that this was a very special experience. * The biggest part that I hate about the mask is that I can’t see anyone’s face impression.
I promise you, I had a smile from ear to ear. I just keep in my mind that this will pass!
And yes, we have also thought of this.
Considering the safety of the children and not being able to comply with the rules for social distancing, we made sure that everyone was healthy and wore masks. Well disinfected, we managed to create a very loving experience in a confusing time. The local police even stayed with us to make sure everything was safe and made a report of it.
UPDATE: Last week I spoke with the wife of the orphanage and everyone is still very healthy. What a relief!
The contrast between the luxurious Bali in the north and the rest of the island is enormous. All this takes place an hour’s drive from Canggu, the place where I currently live.
I live a very minimalist lifestyle. My clothes are so discolored and full of stains that they went from fashion to vintage, like three times. But still I felt guilty about how I could sometimes spend 7 euros on a breakfast and protein shake while it could feed a family of 4 for a week.
That is why the guys of rescue 2000 are working on much larger projects in addition to the monthly food drops. They are just getting started and I’ll keep writing these stories!
Although I wanted to take off my mask, so everyone could see my smile and give the kids a hug, I was mainly busy holding back my tears. A mix of happiness and sadness. They sang a song for me, “Thank you Kevin and his friends, god bless you”.
I’ve always had a hard time receiving so much recognition. So I pass it on to you, without your generosity, I could never have made this happen.
Over the mountains and through the forest …
We are on a mission to visit hungry families. I left the orphanage with mixed feelings.
The great thing about rescue 2000 is that they are a platform for good causes. 93% of the donations actually go to the people. The other 7% is used to expand their network and to pay, for example, the ‘Banjar’ (village chief). They approach local charities in Indonesia, they contact the ‘Banjar’ and they start looking for families in need of food.
Imagine what a wonderful situation is happening here. Where our “first world mentality” fights over a few rolls of toilet paper, a little investigation is started to find out who could really use our help.
Sharing is caring
This process usually takes one to two weeks. The whole neighborhood actually helps to distribute the food. And no crumb of food is wasted. We had 24 eggs for a couple of two. Later we found out that the eggs had been divided among 3 other families.
That’s how they help each other. It gives me goosebumps every time I think about it. Wonderful gesture, isn’t it?
Power to the people
At the end of the day, we’re all looking for the same thing: Happiness.
Turns out, while we all have different environments, beliefs and values, we’re not that different. And to assume that the people here are not happy at all, is a prejudice rather than a confirmation. It’s easy to say, “These people work hard and don’t have any food, so they’re unhappy.” But is that really the case?
It is my mission to get to know these people and ask them for life lessons.
I want to tell you about two specific people who really stuck with me. Everyone I visited made an impression, but these two people got me thinking, a lot. I am currently learning Bahasa, the local language, to be able to interview more people in the future. Questions such as: “what makes you happy?” or “what’s the best thing that ever happened to you?”
are just a small selection from my diary full of questions.
In the same bed for 6 years We arrive at the following address. Some dogs come running towards us, and a girl of about 7 years old greets us. A lady that holds a baby in her arms, welcomes us.
We come here for an elderly woman. She was the former neighbor of the family with two children. They don’t know what disease she has, and there is no money for a doctor.
The only blessing this lady had, was this amazing family that took care of her. What often happens is that people are not registered with the government, so she actually “doesn’t exist”. Birthdays aren’t really celebrated either. When you ask someone’s age, you are often told, “Anywhere between 50 and 60?” If you are not registered, it means that the government does not take care of her. She has a daughter but our interpreter told us the following …
When a couple gets married, it’s “unwritten law” that the woman will follow the man.
The daughter and her family had left to Java and therefore, she no longer had contact with her mother. The husband of the lady in the picture, had passed away 8 years ago, so she was all alone. No income, no registration, and no one around to take care of her.
The neighbors with their two children made a room available. Her own two children slept in the same room. The family had their hands full to make ends meet. The whole family was provided with food for over a month. During these trips I feel so much inner conflict but it also teaches me to appreciate the little things in life. And ignites the fire in me to do even more.
“Work hard and you can achieve anything”
When I was kicked out of school at 15 without getting a degree, my father said to me very calmly, “And what are you going to do now?” A little surprised at his response, I muttered, “I don’t know …”
I expected him to get angry, but he taught me a wise life lesson.
He continued his story with: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Since my father had a company in road construction, I shouted from the age of seven: “I will be the best road construction worker in the Netherlands!” My father’s answer was short and sweet: “Okay, then we will look for a job, make sure you go to work with passion, and then you can achieve anything you want.”
Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.
These two people had been together for almost 30 years. They lived in a small clay hut.
A room of 4 square meters which was the kitchen and a bedroom of 4 square meters.
They were quite surprised when we walked in with two months worth of food.
The deliveries are a surprise to the people. They don’t know anything.
We walk in and our interpreter explains the situation. The rest is full improvisation.
The woman had suffered a stroke, 8 months ago. Since there is no hospital nearby, “these things just happen,” our interpreter said. Her hand was completely cramped and could no longer use it. She had become an liability for her husband. My talented friend Jacob Perry takes beautiful photos that capture the moment so wonderfully.
You can read the pain in her eyes.
When we put the food down, while her husband spontaneously started to cry.
All he could say was “makasih, makasih” which means thank you in Bahasa.
To bring my story to an end…
I immediately thought of my father’s story. These people work so hard, is it fair to say that they haven’t done everything they can to get the best out of life? Do they deserve this?
We often hear that success is a “state of mind” and anyone can reach their full potential if they really want it. But is that really true? Or is a little bit of luck also necessary?
These are the philosophical questions that put me to sleep.
I may never find the answer, but I will keep looking for it.
When I find it, you’ll be the first to hear it!
Thank you for reading.
Do you miss something in my blogs, or do you have any suggestions for my ‘questions diary’ or some other ideas to make these blogs a real treat to read? Please let me know! Write a comment below or send an e-mail at email@example.com