I feel like I’ve posted a lot of touristy things (which is all fun and interesting, and there’s plenty more where that came from), but wanted to let you know that in between the weekends of Hong Kong adventures, there has been lots happening at Crossroads where I came to spend the bulk of my time.
In just the last few weeks, containers have been packed full of furniture / clothes / blankets / hospital beds / school desks and chairs / computer equipment / cooking and hygiene kits / all sorts of good useful stuff to be shipped around the world to places like the Philippines, Nicaragua, Uganda (2 containers!), and Vietnam, and all kinds of goods continue to be processed and packed up ready for more upcoming shipments that will help all kinds or organisations doing great work in places of great need.
One of the containers had FABBAS written on the side in large letters, so you can imagine the kind of music I sang a lot that day as I walked around the site looking after our many volunteers 🙂
I was passing the loading area last Saturday just in time to snap a picture of these ingenious garden furniture wheelchairs while they were waiting to be packed into the container for Vietnam. A plastic outdoor chair. Some bike wheels (in this case I think they’re actual wheel-chair wheels with the extra rim). Some straps and harnessing. Bam – wheelchair. Imagine the difference that could make to one person’s life. To their family. A community. The effect multiplies so quickly, for such a small initial cost.
While all that goodness has been heading outwards through Hong Kong’s enormous port area, many local people in Hong Kong who are struggling for many reasons have come to Crossroads in order to pick out furniture and electrical appliances and small household goods that will help them immeasurably in their own situations. About half the goods that come into Crossroads is redistributed locally, within Hong Kong. This is a hugely important part of the work here.
Meanwhile, generous people – individuals and businesses – have donated all kinds of interesting stuff for us to redistribute to those who need it. It’s not always immediately obvious how all the items will be useful (50 karaoke machines for example, or a single carousel horse – sans carousel). And sometimes it is a huge effort to get the goods here (like the entire contents of 26 serviced apartments – had to be picked up 3 days after we got the initial call as the new fit out was happening on the 4th day. If we couldn’t take it, the whole lot would have been thrown out!) And sometimes the processing required seems Everest-like (2 x 40 foot containers of hand sanitizer – donated as it had been labelled incorrectly and shipped here all the way from Antwerp. We will relabel every single one of the thousands of bottles before we send it all out again to many willing recipients.)
But always, a way is made where one is needed. We can only do this because cheerfully willing volunteers from the local community continue to appear to help the much smaller number who are here full time. Some come regularly for years, others occasionally and some just once. It has been both incredibly challenging and a great joy to be part of that process – meeting the people, and finding tasks for them that will match both their skills and abilities, and our needs.
And while the Hong Kong tourist-adventuring has been great, it’s my time at Crossroads that I’ll carry away with me from here when I go. All too soon.