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Thank You for the Gift of Giving

By Olivier Daniel, Grade 11
My parents have always preached the importance of giving. Giving love, giving kindness, giving joy, giving money, just giving in general. They believe that giving is the most satisfying and humbling act that any human being can do. As a child, I always wondered how giving could bring you joy and satisfaction? I always wondered what my Dad meant when he says: “Giving is part of the circle of life. A circle where one action leads to another.” I was always told that the more you give, the more you will receive.

Well I guess I was naive to doubt my Dad and even more naive not to trust in the power of giving.

Giving is not always easy. Most times it requires sacrifice. It requires a commitment to putting the interest of others ahead of our own. This year at Stanstead, I was able to witness the power of giving, to experience its impact on my life and the lives of others. This happened during my school trip to Nicaragua where I participated in the Habitat for Humanity project.

However, before I highlight my experience in Nicaragua, I would like to share with you the words of the Lebanese prophet Khalil Gibran from his famous book, The Prophet:

“Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower, but it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee. For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life, and to the flower a bee is a messenger of love, And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.”

That is what my father meant when he talked about the importance of giving and how it is the most important fuel for receiving.

Giving and receiving is what we did when we went to Nicaragua. Yet, no one was expecting to receive anything when we embarked on our mission to help others build a family home. Looking back at my experience, I quickly understood that I had received far more than I ever gave. I was able to build friendship, to spread joy, to spend time and build a bond with my schoolmates. What a wonderful feeling to be able to give without having any preconceived expectations. It is often in these instances that we live the true meaning of giving.

Let me share with you highlights of our trip.

On our third day at the worksite, Davi, a 6-year-old boy broke one of his Crocs. The next day, he still showed up with the same pair of broken crocs. His toes were coming out and half his foot was on the rocky ground. The following day, Andrew Bouchard went to the local market and bought this kid a brand new pair of Crocs. You should have seen the smile on his face. I just cannot describe it in words, but I am sure you can all relate to it. That day, I learned from Andrew the power of giving and the joy that it can give. Thank you, Andrew, for the life lesson.

Every morning when we arrived to our worksite, Natael was always there, waiting for us, ready to work. The 11-year-old boy was a neighbour and always wanted to help. He would have worked all day if he could. He tried to skip school but with two teachers in our group it was mission impossible. The young boy wanted to help his neighbours. He wanted to give and expected nothing in return. Natael, thank you for inspiring me, for helping me understand the true value of giving.