I just love Stampin' Up... not only do they make world-class stamps and papercrafting products, they also have a huge heart. The company's Statement of the Heart reads like this: "To love what we do and share what we love, as we help others enjoy creativity and worthwhile pursuits: in this, we make a difference." Our theme for the year is "Be the Difference" and it has been wonderful to renew our focus on what is really important--changing people's lives for the better, from simple things like a card or a scrapbook, all the way on up to improving the world around us.
Our incentive trip to Fiji was a wonderful, relaxing time--but not on Thursday morning for about five hours! Stampin' Up knows their go-getter demos have a hard time stepping away from work to be done, and they also know there is power in numbers. So on Thursday of our Fiji week, we packed two buses full of volunteers for the Nadi orphanage, who delivered hundreds of pounds of clothing, toys, and books we demos had brought over in our suitcases. Along with, of course, bunches of crafting supplies donated by Stampin' Up. Can you IMAGINE the smiles on those kids' faces??? I hope to get a few pictures from my friends Wendy and Cheryl, who went with the orphange team.
Three other buses full of demos and their spouses, including me, went to the local hospital and began to work on cleaning the grounds and painting. Nadi was subjected to a terrible flood last December and there was still plenty to be done. Click here to read the local newspaper's account of our visit--keep scrolling for more photos. Stampin' Up donated all the supplies, including lots of things that were left to be used again by the locals, work shirts, and plenty of snacks and water bottles to keep us hydrated as we worked in the tropical sun.
One large group sanded and painted all the covered walkways between hospital wings. That was a HUGE, dirty job! Others picked up trash, weeded flower beds, mowed and weed-eatered the whole grounds. I worked in the front of the hospital, where we repainted the entire facade. It was extremely rewarding to see the faded, muddy, moldy front completely rejuvenated! And I have to say I've never painted in a place where you had to bring a clean paintbrush along to shoo away lizards while you worked : )
I played water girl most of the day. I must have filled the mop buckets they were using to wash out brushes twenty or thirty times if I did it once. It was tiring, but I was glad to find a little niche and just keep trucking. It was probably the best thing I could have done for my sore muscles from the rafting day, actually!
In the photo below, you can see the only outdoor spigot available to use. That little spigot and I became best friends that day : ) Got my best angle there, eh? LOL!
The best part for me was feeling like we'd really made a difference for the hospital. And a classy one--everything was paid for, sanded or washed down first, primed, and painted well, then all cleaned up afterward. I didn't want it to be one of those photo-op type things where you do more harm than good. But there was no denying that we'd been a big boost to Nadi, and that feels awesome. Every patient and visitor and nurse and doctor in that hospital must have stopped to say "vinaka" as we worked. So thrilled we got to be a part of a way to say thank you to Fiji for hosting us in their beautiful country.