On a cold winter day last month, a couple of new Samsung recruits flew from Korea to a Central Asian country on a special mission: to deliver windbreakers for those most in need in Tajikistan, a mountainous country that is prone to natural disasters.
The windbreakers, each with a phrase – “DREAM & LOVE TOGETHER” – printed on the front, were not just any windbreaker, but those worn by some 8,000 fresh entrants to Samsung last year during their summer orientation. They decided to donate the windbreakers to people in Tajikistan, and Binna Kim from Samsung Electronics and Chihyuk Ahn from Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance made the trip to deliver them as representatives.
Today, Chihyuk and Binna sent us some notes on how they felt and what they learned on this very meaningful journey, and we’d like to share them with you.
#1 Chihyuk says…
Tajikistan – it was a country I’d never heard of. And there wasn’t much latest information about the country I could find on the Internet either, except for some very basic facts and that it suffered seven years of a devastating civil war. But, the meaningful mission I was to undertake as a representative of the entire company filled me up with more than enough energy and enthusiasm to make this trip to an unfamiliar country.
When we arrived in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, the weather was a lot warmer than I had expected. I was also wrong on another assumption that people there would be gloomy and depressed because of economic hardships. The Tajikistan people I saw upon arrival at the airport had such warmth in their eyes and amiability in their gestures that made me feel instantly welcome.
The next day, we visited a nursing home and an orphanage for disabled children, where we received a warm welcome. The elderly people hug me and Binna as if we were their own grand children, kissing us on the cheeks. As we received heartfelt thanks from them for the windbreakers, I felt proud and happy for having delivered something to those most in need.
On the last day, we visited a school and the children clad in the windbreakers we gave them gave us a demonstration of a traditional Korean martial art, Taekwondo. I myself showed them some Taekwondo moves and played soccer afterwards. I was sad to bid goodbye to them after such a fun afternoon, but was also happy with the hopeful thought that these young kids will grow up healthy to be the future leaders of Tajikistan.
#2 Binna says…
We all understand the need of helping others, but very often it’s easier said than done. That’s why I truly appreciated this experience of lending a helping hand to those in need. In fact, for someone who had gone to give, I’ve actually come back gaining a lot more.
At the nursing home, we took the wrapping off each of the windbreakers and put them on the elders personally. On another floor waited a group of children, who gave us hugs as soon as we walked into the room. The windbreakers were, of course, too big for the kids, but they still smiled and laughed with happiness after receiving the gifts. I was saddened for not being able to give these bright kids something more, and it broke my heart to leave them behind when they all broke in tears as we set to leave.
On the last day, we went to a soup kitchen run by a local church to help serve food for the homeless people. There were already lines of people waiting outside the door even before the serving time. As they finished a love-filled meal of chicken soup, boiled meat, rice and other dishes, we handed out the windbreakers to each of them. All of them beamed with joy.
I don’t know how much help I had actually given during the short four-day trip. It was surely nothing, compared to those who offer help every day in Tajikistan. But it was a very important experience for me that built the foundation for more sharing in the future. I heard many people in Tajikistan say, “Thank you, Samsung.” I, too, say, “Thank you, Samsung; thank you, Tajikistan.”