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One volunteer: Paul Farmery, Senior Buyer, Balfour Beatty plc, U.K.

“The most rewarding and fulfilling week I have ever spent.”

“The memories of the children and adults’ faces will live with me forever,” Paul said, and explained how that has affected his life back home. “My view on what is important has changed dramatically, I am much more content being surrounded by my family, not taking what we have for granted. I am also able to share my trip with my kids so that they understand more about what life is really like overseas for those less fortunate than us.”

Short description of your / your company’s main area of work, your years in the industry, any awards or major projects or achievements you’d like to share.

My division works within the Utilities sector in the UK, providing new infrastructure projects and refurbishment and repair across the Gas, Water and Power distribution networks on behalf of clients such as Scottish and southern electricity, National Grid etc.

How did you get to know about Waterdrop?

Through my local representative Dan Wild

Why did you choose to participate?

Curiosity as much as anything else.

What did you expect to experience before the trip started? And what was your first impression when you finally arrived? How did you feel?

Unsure as first trip to the Far East, different cultures certainly and a different perspective. On arrival Manila is much like any other big city, except for the different approach to construction H&S practices.

Building water towers in elementary schools: Tell us a little bit about your experience – both building the towers and working with the children.

The most rewarding and fulfilling week I have ever spent. The memories of the children and adults’ faces will live with me forever. A truly moving experience so far removed from my normal charity sponsored walks etc as you can imagine. To get the chance to see the impact first hand was amazing and one I will never forget.

What were the major challenges you encountered and overcame during the trip? (i.e., heat, sanitary conditions, tiredness, etc.)

Some difficulties with digestive problems but well worth the discomfort to see the schools and communities we visited. A small price to pay.

What’s your single most valuable moment or experience from the trip?

The opportunity to see those “video images” of appreciation at first hand. As said earlier it has changed me in ways I was not expecting.

How was the relationship building and teamwork with the other participants – both from your country and from the other countries?

The team ethic and camaraderie was fantastic, often the English will keep themselves to themselves but the openness and welcome encouragement from the others party members, almost without exception was fantastic.

Now that some time has passed since your Waterdrop volunteer trip, has anything changed in your life? What is your favourite memory?

My view on what is important has changed dramatically, I am much more content being surrounded by my family, not taking what we have for granted. I am also able to share my trip with my kids so that they understand more about what life is really like overseas for those less fortunate than us.

Would you recommend this Volunteer Trips to your colleagues or do such a trip again?

Absolutely, without question and more than happy to help sell the idea.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience that we didn’t ask?

My world view has changed, becoming much smaller. What we do here can and does have an impact overseas. Europe should lead the way in shaming other nations into helping out. $10k US is achievable for each and every community if it wants to change lives. Please do all you can to publicise the work you are doing. I am changed as a result.

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