Hope For Children

I’m in Riga, Latvia, leaving tomorrow.

I’ve been here as a part of a project between the hotel group I work for, Clarion Collection by Nordic Choice Hotels and the Latvian help organization Hope For Children. The main reason was to pack and distribute school bags to Hope For Children’s day centres, but also, to meet the family that my employer Hotel Savoy, sponsors and care for all year round.

It’s been a soul-stirring experience.

From arriving this city with little expectation to leaving with more energy, a broader perspective and a couple of new friends.

It amazes me what these everyday heroes do.

I’m in awe to their commitment, their unselfishness, their hands-on work.

I admit, it makes me feel guilty and ashamed how little I myself do for the poor, the hungry and the unfortunate ones.

When the children received the bags they were hopeful and excited because that’s what children are. They were careful in choosing the right bag, trying it on and comparing with the rest because that’s what children do.

Children are the same all over the world.

The family my hotel cares for consists of a grandmother, a single mother and five year old daughter who happens to be one of the most charming, funniest and cutest kids I’ve ever met. She has been diagnosed with a form of autism and is very energetic and expressive. My heart swelled for this girl and I am already looking at ways to help fund special education for her and courses that can get her mom a job.

Work aside, I’ve had a beautiful time in Riga with lots of leisure time.

In fact, time seemed to slow down completely, as I strolled the streets of the Old Town, sat at cafés, admired churches and domes, listened to beautiful classical music, bargained with little old Russian ladies at local markets and shared a drink with a fellow traveller and his father, overlooking the roof tops of Riga in a moment when the sun really didn’t want to set.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this trip has been good for me.

So there you go, summed up by a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher:

“As we work to create light for others,

we naturally light our own way.”