Did I serve, Did I make a difference
As I approach the end of my time here in Vietnam, my week of gratitude continues as I reflect back on my commitment to ‘self’ at the beginning of this journey. This I do as my way of giving an elaborate ‘Thank you’ to the many people who without their support, this experience would never have been possible. I want them to know, I did not ‘dare waste my time’
My SAP Social Sabbatical in Vietnam involved supporting a Social Enterprise that is changing the economic livelihood of ethnic minority women one handicraft at a time.
Today i seek to answer one of those commitments, I made to myself. Did I serve? Did I make a difference?
Did I serve? Did I make a difference?
Did anybody notice I was here, but more importantly, how did my presence make them feel. Will how I made them feel positively impact them long after I have left? Indirectly, we as a team posed this question to Thuy — the founder of Chie.
In her own words she said “You have changed my life… on another occasion she commented ‘the future of Chie looks brighter because of your work’…
Well we knew we had to deliver some outcomes. After all, we are SAP, we deliver tangible outcomes for our customers. This however, was a different kind of ‘customer’. This ‘customer’ elevated our desire to deliver, to serve, to contribute, beyond any corporate requirements. We were serving humanity, we were truly changing lives, we were helping preserve cultural heritage, we were creating generational impact. And we did this not as superiors, not as the ‘missionaries coming to save the village’. No…we were ‘servant leaders’. We learnt from them as much, if not more, as they learnt from us. They called us ‘friends with benefit’ for in the end it was a win win for us.
We visited the women in the village, we sat on the floor and talked to them not only about their work for Chie but about their families, their hopes, their skills. With a wholistic understanding of who they are, with the bond created by being among them, with trust developed over long conversations and laughter over meals, we served them, we served them exactly how they needed us to serve them.