Last Friday, I was given a valuable opportunity to attend a dinner and film premiere hosted by HOPE International Development Agency. Although it’s not directly food related, I wanted to share with you all the experience I had, which was so incredible and eyeopening.
HOPE is a nonprofit organization based in Canada (in fact, their office is in New Westminster!) that works to help families in poverty around the world. They have various missions around the world, including countries like Guatemala, Haiti, the Philippines, Myanmar, and more. It was their 40th anniversary this year, and in dedication to that, they produced a film.
The film told the story of a family in Cambodia who they’ve helped 6 years ago, showcasing all the positive changes in their lives. Chan is the main character here, and she’s the mother of an entire family of children. The family previously struggled to make it by each day due to the conditions they were in. Living in the rural side of the country, they had limited access to water, food, and sanitation. The children didn’t have the chance to go to school, and they were all in poor health. Luckily, HOPE came along, and provided them a well. This enabled them to not only a supply of safe drinking water, but also for them to grow crops. They were able to even sell extra vegetables, and made some profits. Food was no longer an everyday struggle and school was no longer a distant dream for the children.
From that night, I rediscovered the power of giving, and obtained a stronger sense of gratitude for all the privileges I have in my life. We are so lucky to be living in a comfortable place with all our basic needs met without concern. However, a large percentage of the world’s population is still suffering from poverty, and we need to realize that we do have the potential to help these people. Not everyone is capable of large donations, including myself as an unemployed student, but every little effort counts and matters. I admire the generosity of all the donors and auctioneers of the night, and I hope I can contribute in the near future as well.
The night started off with some socializing and mingling. A bit awkward for me because there were mostly adults and advocates of the organization. Cousin Mie was the one who invited me to the event, so I stuck with her the entire time while she chatted and introduced me to her friends. They had a silent auction, which had all sorts of random things donated by different companies. Among the items are food, electronics, everyday essentials and beautiful artworks. HOPE was also selling handcrafted bags, scarves, and blankets made by the women in Cambodia.
Reflections are cool.
Then came the dinner. Being a so-called foodie, I obviously had to capture the delicious meal we had. (;
First off, we were given a basket of all sorts of breads and bagels. I tried the rosemary crackers and they were delicious!
While they accommodated for people with allergies or dietary restrictions, I didn’t have any so I just went for the set meal. For our appetizer, there was a Wild Mushroom Salad. This had some roasted mushrooms, a slice of toasted baguette, some spring greens, and also a tomato vinaigrette.
Our entree had a ginormous piece of thyme crusted chicken breast, with roasted asparagus and carrots, mashed pumpkin (it tasted like kabocha?) and roasted red nugget potatoes.
Lastly, dessert was an espresso tiramisu presented beautifully with fresh berries– blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, golden berry- whipped cream, raspberry sauce, and a really cool lacquered chocolate stick.
The dinner ended off with a live auction, followed by the premiere of the film, then some closing speeches. Again, it was a truly remarkable night. I encourage you all to check out HOPE’s website to learn more about their mission and work, and show your support towards a great cause! (:
Me looking awkward in photos as usual.
Here’s me and Cousin Mie trying to prevent a Marilyn Monroe moment and keeping our eyes open with the setting sun. :p
Organization site: http://www.hope-international.com/