While filming in St. Lucia for the tourism board I was lucky enough to see every inch of this tropical paradise. However for me, the real beauty lay not with it’s white sand beaches but in the people who call this place home. On the morning of my departure, I was faced with two options: 1) Relax by the pool and wait for my afternoon flight or 2) race up North 1.5 hours, buy some groceries from a local supermarket and drop then off at a local charity. I of course chose the latter!
After a quick call to my taxi driver at 6:30am and we were off on my first volunteer experience for the The Daya Project! I had spent the last week with my driver, David, as he patiently chauvered me and my team around the island. He was a quiet, unassuming character who rarely spoke a word. But all this was about to change. As I jumped in the car he questioned why he was up so early on what I was soon to realize was his day off! I began explaining The Daya Project and how it can impact on the lives of local people and how travellers like myself can give back. It was as if I had turned on a light…for the next 45 minutes, I couldn’t get a word in. For the rest of the journey David passionate shared story after story about his lovely daughter who was blind from birth. He hadn’t heard of anything like the Daya Project and was thrilled at this great opportunity to help those who need it most.
On our way to the Holy Family Children’s Home, David asked that we pick up the supplies from his local grocery store, so we made our pit stop and overloaded a shopping cart full of supplies – everything from toilet paper, laundry detergent, and garbage bags; to a 50 lb bag of rice. While zipping through the aisles, David was doing price comparisons to make sure we got the best deals – he was also eager to spread the word as he enthusiastically told every other shopper about the Daya Project. When we arrived at the Children’s Home, we were greeted by the charming Sister Anthonia David who embraced us with a warm hug and thanked us for the goods that we had brought. I was fortunate enough to be given the grand tour of the site and learn about the incredible work that is done there. Meanwhile, David got the opportunity to speak with the children and the volunteers and hear their wonderful stories.
The visit was a complete success!! Both David and I were overwhelmed with the experience. As we arrived at the airport, David rolled down his window and said, “Thank you for sharing this day with me. I’ve been in the neighborhood a hundred times, but didn’t know this project was there. You’ve opened my eyes to my own country…please say thank you to the Daya Project for me.
” What a difference a day makes. -