Hong Kong is a very different place and culture to one I have known on the travels up the california coast, denver or indeed any of my travels or dwellings previously.
It is a city led by technology, every one looking down into their lives through playing games and communicating with the power of the phone. They have wifi in every area of the city including the under ground. Spirituality does not adorn the streets as standard or in anyway in fact, people do not live with manners, an understanding of queues, smiling at people and surprisingly to me (because my grandfather taught me well) burping out loud seems to be pretty standard. Those with physical or mental difficulties are seen as those to be shunned not cherished as most would in the UK. All of the things that I breathe culturally are unknown here, and equally what they know. I do not.
Like most cities consists of a thousand different places, a part of the city suitable for every personality. I was as usual interested in meeting people. People who had a story to tell that was inspiring, kind and full of love greater than themselves. People who make me question myself and the actions that I take.
Anyway my friend who has been in Hong Kong for many years did not disappoint and put me in touch with a lady called Kay and the charity Sailability. She said very little other than the fact she was inspirational and I needed to meet her.
Sailabilty is a charity set up to be similar to the program set up in the UK to assist physically disabled and special needs to build strength and confidence through sailing. A group of people including Kay and her husband set it up. Although this is it in its simplest form, I was soon to discover it was really so much more.
After being in contact I find the building, I am let in and Kay is immediately greeting me with a smile, ‘you must be Laura’. She is warm and immediately friendly and in control. Young persons from the support centre that Kay works at when she is not working on Sailabilty, they too are immediately talking to me and demonstrating a friendliness.
We sit in a room where Kay tells me about the cause that she joined 5 years ago that has gone from unbelievable strength to strength. She has tenacity and gumption, she looks 15 years younger her true age and when she spoke I got lost on the detail but found myself mesmerized by the passion she has for the cause.
At the end of our chat, a young man came in, he very abruptly but in the most wonderful way asked who this lady was, it was me. We went through a process in which Kay supported him on how to introduce and ask who I was, an action she had done a thousand times I am sure. I was already in compete admiration for Kay, her patience and what she had accomplished in her life so far, I also just loved this young man whose smile never left his face, and in fact all those that Kay supported.
In truth if she was praised for the work she did, it would likely be an embarrassment for her, she gains her praise from her achievements. She had not had any life trauma that she could define why she does what she does, she does it knowing her role is to support and her life is all the greater for it. Even when I used the word ‘help’, she corrected me to say ‘supports’. How right she is and what a valuable lesson in word association that was for me, I have been mindful of it ever since.
For those who know me, they know that volunteering is preferable rather than donations, but I came away hypnotized, if I won the lottery this is the charity I would donate to, it simply achieves too much good and so openly and honestly for me not to.
So if passion and supporting others who need a leg up in life makes you look 15 years younger, would it be enough for you to be motivated to be the change? It certainly did me.
There is a huge amount going on within this charity and as Kay talked about the Olympics, the donations of boats, the sheer amount of young people supported in such a short time I thought, if this one person and her husband can inspire so much, what can we really achieve in our communities.
For further information please see http://www.sailability.org.hk