We had our Microsoft offsite event this weekend. This is where Microsoft | Services gets together at a remote location. The remote location of choice this year was Zambia. This was the one of the highlights in my life to date. We had a mixture of staying in the Royal Livingstone hotel (which is probably one of the best hotels I have stayed in), the warm and wonderful people and the awesome white water rafting. All of which was an experience to never forget.
The white water rafting was especially difficult for me as I am by no means an adrenaline junky, but this year being the year where I try new things out and having to stick with my team (including my boss) was a challenge. I can honestly say that it was unbelievable, the scenery what beautiful the company was awesome and I now see the value of doing team building events. I met people I never knew and I bonded with people that I thought I knew. For me personally I crossed many boundaries that I had as a person and it was very valuable to me. I ended up being one of the guys on the raft always wanting to go straight into the middle of the white water. My poor boss, she was always threatening me with my career if I did so ;). After the second rapid she was forced off the raft as we almost flipped the raft or should I rather say the rapid almost flipped the raft. We had to paddle and pick her up way down the river, at which point one could see she was panicky. I would have been too, the rapids really throw you around and take you under. Anyway she got back and having the robust personality that she does carried on with us (still threatening me with my career if I did anything like that again).
Then came me finally meeting and talking to Services practice manager Kevin, he is always quite in the office but once I got to know him immediate respect was shown. He is truly a great person understanding and caring for his employee’s. I mean one thing that blew me over was that I choose canoeing as my activity but at the last moment I wanted to go white water rafting. He swapped his place for mine even though I knew he wanted to go white water rafting. In the grand scheme of things I m just another consultant but he showed me in that little instance how much he cared and that means a lot to people!
Now my title is a bit vague as this looks like I had the time of my life, but I would like to take a moment to explain to you all why.
There are few things in life that really affect me and one of them is human suffering. I cant stand it and I can not stand the sight of it and when you cross the borders from Zambia into Zimbabwe or when you are outside your little cocoon at the Royal Livingston hotel, you notice the suffering and hardship and it does nothing less than give you a big lump in your throat.
You always feel helpless and somewhat responsible for suffering and at that moment the sheer beauty of both Zambia and Zimbabwe disappears and one realizes what you have back home.
My main worry is buying a house but I can afford a house. These peoples main worry is living basic human needs. One wonders if governments and world leaders have any hearts sometimes.
I left Zambia with mixed feelings, I made so many more friends and bonded with my current friends but still think about the poverty in those countries.
Without getting political I really think that the world neglects these people and they have so much to offer. The people selling artifacts next to the road could really do a good job in our sales office as no matter how many times you say no I watch softie after softie either paying up for something or trading clothes or caps for some artifacts.
I noticed that clothing and shoes was more important to them than money and that’s desperate. If in my life time one day I can be in a position to help people like that I will and that’s one extra respect point to Bill Gates from me, he spends millions if not billions on African countries like that. I ask you reading this, if you where in Bill’s shoes would you do the same?