In January 2012 IKEA announced a very tempting competition concerning a week trip to Ethiopia, Africa focused on acquainting employees with IKEA/UNICEF‘s co-operation called Soft Toy Campaign in the sphere of children’s education, food emergency, and healthcare. The competition was evaluated on the basis of the candidates’ motivation and the various kinds of help in their everyday life. As I have strong compassion with my closest surroundings as well as with the world’s issues, and I have already taken part in several volunteering projects, such as educating children in Ukraine and India, I was honored to participate in this amazing journey.
If I could find one word to defining my feelings and expectations it would be the word “MISSION,” such as would be used by adventurers, explorers, sailors who are about to set out the journey to remote lands for buried treasures, lost civilizations, and hidden knowledge, with a compass in one hand and a log diary in the other. I feel that same indescribable excitement that gives me goose bumps every time I think about our journey to a country I have never visited before. However, there is also an omnipresent bittersweet feeling coming from the awareness of the real goal of our African mission. My colleagues and I were entrusted to give credible testimony about the importance and benefits of IKEA/UNICEF‘s co-operation and spread it among our colleagues, family, and friends in order to raise general compassion and interest.
Being in Africa I will be exposed to unfamiliar smells, tastes, weather conditions, and cultural customs and habits, that may be difficult to understand and cope with within such a short time. On the other hand, I am going to meet real people who, like us, have their own families and friends with whom they share all the moments of happiness and sadness that life can bring. Therefore, even though a stranger in a strange land, I hope to step into these normal, everyday lives of the people I will meet and bring their stories into reach of my friends and colleagues back home.