I know I haven’t published in a while. Not because things are bad, but because things are exceptionally well. I am super busy doing super things. And this is how it began.
After we moved into our current home, we had more stuff than we could fit in. So I wanted to donate all the things I hadn’t used in years, but who to? The most obvious/well-known option would be the Salvation Army, but they told me – politely – they would only come and pick it up for a fee of S$ 60. I wasn’t even sure it was worth that much…
I browsed further on internet and somehow landed on the website of the Netherlands Charity Association (NCA); the NCA raises money among expats and then passes it on to local Singaporean charities. And they were looking for stuff to sell at their garage sale! That all sounded perfect and even better: they came and picked it up for free! While talking to the woman who came to pick up my stuff (who turned out to be the president of the association), I offered ‘loosely’ that if they needed help, I would be interested in volunteering. So, I became a salesperson at the same garage sale. It was the weirdest thing to see all ‘my’ stuff in the hands of others and to hear their (sometimes not so) appreciative comments.
Back to the NCA and what they do. When first I arrived in Singapore I was gob smacked by all the malls, the bling-bling and the obvious luxury that seemed so normal to everyone. I had the biggest culture shock, because after Mexico it just seemed too much. It certainly didn’t seem necessary to have charities raising money for the needy in Singapore. What needy could there be in one of the richest countries in the world?
Now I know better. I know that thousands of people live here without money to buy food. I know that the old, mentally challenged and the sick are being kept hidden out of shame (a cultural difference). I know that the maids (oh how I hate that word) are being treated badly, sometimes so bad that they end up in hospital or even get killed. I know that there are human traffickers that sell other people like animals to work in Singapore for next to nothing. Actually, most get treated even worse than an animal.
I also know that there are a lot of good-hearted Singaporeans that want to help and/or change things. But to reach the expats is difficult. They come and they go and to build up a strong network is almost impossible on an individual basis. So that’s where NCA comes in. They raise money and then distribute it among the local charities.
I know all this because since February I am actively involved in the work NCA does. I am the webmaster of NCA as well as a member of the marketing committee and the workshop committee. This all sounds fancy- schmancy, but the majority of the work usually gets done by only a few people so most of us have many different titles.
It’s keeping me busy, so much so that it seems like having a day job. A fun job actually, because I love doing this stuff. If you want to see why, or what I’m working on, check out the website.