Pictured above: Rick Wiebe giving keynote talk. Article published in The Lacombe Globe May 31, 2018 by reporter Ashli Barrett
A Better World Canada recognized its volunteers and supporters as part of their 28th annual Humanitarian Day Celebration on Saturday.
About 100 people turned out to the relatively low-key affair, and while the goal was to appreciate the work of local humanitarians, in the selfless fashion typical of such people, they placed the focus on the projects and initiatives they’ve worked on over the past year.
That was exactly what keynote speaker and ABW Project Manager Rick Wiebe did when he took the stage at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, attempting to inspire the already inspired and motivated group of humanitarians and ABW supporters, with a story of his first ABW trip.
Putting off making his trip overseas due to family obligations, he finally found the time in 2011 and spent three weeks traveling the country with ABW co-founder Eric Rajah.
“This is going to sound corny, but I was deeply, deeply moved by what I saw. It literally changed my life,” he said. “I saw what was happening with ABW and what we were doing and on the plane ride home I said I need to get involved.”
Ever since, he’s been a project manager, working to provide needs for those living in less fortunate areas of the world.
The challenge, he says, is truly finding out what each individual community’s needs are, rather than just supplying them with everything they say yes to.
“A critical part of what A Better World does is figuring out what this community, in fact, needs,” he said.
He talked of an orphanage in Kenya that sits on about five acres of land. When he asked Serge, a man running the orphanage, why there was no garden, he learned they didn’t know how to garden, and so ABW taught them how to garden. A year later, they returned to the orphanage to check out how it was going. Before they even got out of the vehicle, Serge runs up to them.
“‘Oh my gosh, you guys have changed my life,’ he said and he hauls us into the back and there’s this amazing crop of maize,” Wiebe said. “They had grown so many beans they had 600,000 they were able to sell at the marketplace.
That, in itself, is an inspiration.”
And it’s just one of the many inspiring stories ABW has been part of.