A little while ago, when I first started this blog and Radio Nottingham wanted me to make my first appearance live on air, they asked me if I could choose one task out of my list, what would it be. I opted for the work in Africa task, fresh from watching Mission Africa, I naively thought volunteer work would be just that, you volunteer to work and someone happily accepts. Unbeknown to me, they had a couple of surprise guests on the show, one of which firmly put me in my place. Unless I had a 'skill' to take across to such a country, I wouldn't be much use and I would have to apply for the volunteer work, as I would for any normal job, which meant there was quite a risk in not getting the work that I had applied for. When I mentioned that I would happily take two weeks leave from work to volunteer, they told me of the people that had been working out there six months, to a couple of years and even those that had given up their lives to work out there.
Since then, I came to the conclusion, that in order to be of any help to anyone in Africa, I would have to take at least six to eight weeks to volunteer and unfortunately that would mean going either on a career break or having to quit my job, neither of which I can afford to do at the moment, which brings me to our friend A. A doesn't like Christmas and has just broken up with his partner, so thought he would put himself to some use and volunteer to work in a homeless shelter. So he made enquiries, only to find he needs a police search done, before he can work there. The searches can usually take anything from two to eight weeks, so chances are he won't get it back in time. So he offered to work away from the homeless people and clean the offices for them, bearing in mind he will volunteer to do this and won't get paid, but he was told he still needs a police search done to do this.
One of my friends, also told me about the time, she was at a previous employer and they decided one year, not to send out any Christmas cards, but instead donate the money to a nearby Children's home to help them have a better Christmas. Three hundred pounds was collected, but no Children's home would take the money, due to red tape. In the end, the money went to a Wish Upon A Star, a worthy charity indeed, but not the one, it was intended to be.
Which makes me think, after hearing all these things, you can understand where the phrase, Charity begins at home, comes from. Is it better to look after the ones, nearest and dearest to you, then to help those that aren't?
One day, I will work in Africa and give them any help that I can. 'A' will no doubt find a way round the red tape and charities will benefit from the fact that others will not take a gesture of goodwill.
It's a funny old world that we live in, isn't it?