There are so many reasons why I love to travel. Here is a story to warm the heart of the most jaded of people. So much bad news in this world. So much “them and us” mentality. So much distrust. Yet there are people who transcend that meanness, who this make this world a better place, and give hope to the human condition. These moments can be huge international efforts or smaller personal encounters, but all are meaningful.
After leaving the dim-lit quiet sanctuary of the rest lounge I went for a wonder. Still a little too soon for my departure gate to be on the board. Hong Kong airport has just about every expensive brand name store in existence. Most seem to sell purses of every size and colour and watches – some of which must weight several pounds they are so big and flashy. Tired of the window shopping, I drifted past a cafe with a nice view of the planes and gates. I sat and ordered a tea. Then realizing the steamed Chinese breakfast of mystery veggies had left me still feeling hungry I ordered some ham and eggs. Ah – the joy of a good fix of protein. A fellow came and sat at the table next to mine. He too is travelling solo. I was writing in my journal. He asked me if I was a writer. I told him I was – unsung and unpublished….. He told me he was a mechanical engineer. Born in DRC, he got his university degree in Canada and is now a Canadian citizen. We continued chatting about this and that. He builds power generating plants in the Congo now. He loves his work. He’s been to Tofino and had sunny weather. We talked about my trip to Nepal. The subject of 260 pairs of prescription eye glasses (in a duffel bag weighing 39.8 lbs – which Central Mountain Air did not charge me for – Thank you CMA) I’m taking to the Lion’s Eye Hospital came up. As did the subject of the duffel bag of medical supplies Wai Ling has for donation to the medical clinic in Khamding.
This man’s name is Laddy. He opened his wallet, took out US$100.00 and gave it to me – “use this where you think it will do the most good.” He told me. He gave me his card, “Please send me an email and tell me how your trip goes.” We chatted for a few more minutes and he went off to catch his plane. Home to his wife and three children. Home to build more small power plants in villages that have no hydro yet.
So here I am with his generous gift – earmarked as a cash donation to Khamding’s medical clinic to supplement the supplies we are bringing. Needless to say it will be given in Laddy’s name. In Nepal, this kind of generous gift from a stranger will not seem strange – and it will be relieved with grace and thanks from people used to a generous spirit.
Laddy’s trust leaves me humble and his generosity simply gives me hope for the human condition.