Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

The importance of saying THANK YOU

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I was always brought up to be polite.  One of the ways that I was taught, was to always acknowledge a kindness or a compliment with a simple “thank you”.   When I received gifts (for birthdays or Christmas), my mother always sat me down and made me write out a thank you note to the kind giver of the gift.  This habit has continued for me to this day;  I still regularly post out good old-fashioned thank you notes to acknowledge kindness from others.  

In the volunteer work I am doing now, I work with Victims of Crime.   One of the things I do is to sit with the victims as they wait to give evidence in the District Court.  This is a highly stressful time for victims, and I believe that having a trained volunteer to help and answer their questions, and just provide comfort is of tremendous value and support.  When their court case finishes, I am often thanked very heartily for providing support.  This thank you is the payment I receive for the work that I do, and it means a lot! 

Mark has recently been doing some training with CARAD – the organisation he will be volunteering with; helping refugees and asylum seekers as they assimilate to their new environment in Australia.   It reminded me that not everyone uses the words “thank you” in the same way as we do here!   For example, Mark mentioned a Australian woman who was visiting India (she was a fluent Hindi speaker).  This woman was speaking with a shopkeeper there, and he asked here where she was from.   He said he couldn’t tell from her accent, but knew that she wasn’t a local.  When queried as to why that would be, he said “because you keep saying thank you for everything!  We don’t do that here!”.  

Here in Australia, one of the ways that we feel we are making a difference is by sending emails to politicians, to campaign on a range of issues including human rights, animal rights, social justice and climate change.  No doubt politicians receive many hundreds, if not thousands, of emails from concerned citizens all the time.  But I also send thank you notes, when the government DOES actually respond in a positive way to issues that I believe are important.  

A recent case in point was with the Australian budget that was announced for the next fiscal year.  One of the areas of concern for me was the amount of money the federal government was going to provide in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s).   According to Oxfam, the aid budget for the next fiscal year will be $4.835 billion dollars.   This amounts to 35 cents in every $100 that the government spends.   It may not sound a lot, but it will certainly make a difference, and will move Australia closer to the goal of 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2015.  This goal was made by all key political parties as part of Australia’s contribution to achieving the MDG’s. 

What impressed me was that Oxfam (where I gathered the above information), then sent an email out to its supporters, asking that we write to the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Foreign Minister to thank them for honouring their commitment to the world’s poorest people.  An action which I did indeed take.   But a thank you should also be extended to Oxfam for not only campaigning for these things, but saying thank you when they are delivered!  So thank YOU Oxfam for showing courtesy and appreciation!   It is one of the reasons why the Shox are happy to support this amazing NGO!

…. OH!  and while we’re at it, can we also say thank YOU, to our readers?!   It is through your positive comments and support that we have continued to keep our wee blog going!   So far, we have had over 9,500 views!   It isn’t much compared to *some*… but we’re pretty happy!   So please feel free to pass our blog details along to your friends, if you like what we are writing about!   Or feel free to subscribe, so that you will be contacted every time a new post is made!  

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Written by Mar(k)

June 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm

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