Beyond difference

Tuesday, 18 December 2018   ::   Ecuador

hopd22219A team of Logos Hope crewmembers visited a day care centre for disabled adults, for a cultural exchange. The crewmembers were invited to wear their national costumes or outfits representing their country, while some of the centre’s residents wore traditional Ecuadorian clothes.

For three of the volunteers, the experience was something new, as they were not used to working with people with disabilities. They each learnt to show love in the same way they would in any other circumstance. Heber Marcos (Brazil) and Jaco Smit (South Africa) explained that, despite initial reservations of not knowing how to interact with people who might be different, they realised they could connect and share their cultures in the same way they would with anyone else.

The team shared some facts about their countries, through presentations and interactive games. “They were very happy because we were treating them just as we would speak to others. That was special for them. The leaders of the centre were glad that we were there, sharing this time with them,” Heber said.

The residents also shared their culture with the ship’s team, performing a traditional dance as well as serving them a lot of local food, which the team heartily enjoyed. Jaco explained, “I was so scared that I would act differently with them, but it was easy to love them. We could be natural with them. They need small actions, like physical touch and a lot of smiles.”

“We were able to encourage the people who take care of them. They really appreciated that we came and sacrificed our time to share our culture. It meant a lot to them,” Jaco added. “I was challenged not to look at disabled people differently and to respect those who look after them. I had never realised how much work and effort this represented.”

Heber expressed being very touched by the people who take care of the centre’s residents; showing love towards them and caring for them. Many of the staff were young adults. After having a conversation with one young man, Heber found out that he is considering joining Logos Hope as a volunteer.

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