Saturday, February 28, 2009

Student Reflection: Satisfaction from the Little Things

by Sarah Moauro

photo: Sarah Moauro and Mrs. Anh Ha Ho

Over the past few weeks, my work at ECIRMAC has varied daily. Some days I come in and immediately begin translating documents while answering the phones that are ringing off the hook, while on others I sit around in an empty office, occasionally taking a quick call while doing some homework or reading up on ECIRMAC and its events. Usually my weekly two hours spent at the center are somewhere in the middle range between these two, working on a small scale project for an ECIRMAC employee or client. During these days are when I come across little experiences that make me think and, more so, smile.

Last Wednesday was one of these middle ground days. I came into the office, took a few phone calls – it seemed like it was panning out to be a pretty slow day. Then, about half way through my hour, one of the staff members came in looking to work on a flyer she was planning on using in the upcoming Fundraiser Dinner. She came up to me, saw the research I had up on the computer about my upcoming trip to Mexico and began to flood me with advice, information, and stories about her various experiences in the country. From just a few minutes of talking to her, she had given me loads of useful information that reflected just how experienced she was with world encounters and how I am still such a novice. To be up to par with these accomplished staff members of the center, I’d need years more of experience.

After a few minutes of nostalgia, the staff member quickly snapped back to her business priorities. She had an old version of a flyer but needed some help in vamping it up a bit. At first I wasn’t sure how much help I’d be. I consider myself to be decently computer savvy, but I’m by no means a pro. Photoshop, major format design and editing? Sure, I can play around with them, but do I really know what I’m doing? Absolutely not. However, my perception on computer abilities is of my generation, and I always tend to underestimate the gaps. The flyer was simple, it just needed to look a little nicer. I played around with fonts, found some photos online for her to choose amongst, and put together a brighter, updated flyer for her. Throughout the seemingly simple project, she was amazed at what I could do, the options that I was giving her, and the ease that I worked about the computer and internet. Her excitement over the final outcome made me smile, especially over her great appreciation for my help.

Little things such as this make me really feel useful at the refugee center. ECIRMAC is run by a team of intelligent, accomplished people, yet sometimes simply having some fresh, new school know-how helps things to run more smoothly. On days when I feel like my Spanish is slacking or my knowledge may not be as much help as it should be to the clients, I get reassured of the importance of my volunteering by little encounters such as this. Whether it’s a sincere “thank you” coming from a Spanish-speaking client or excitement over what Google-image can provide, any sign that my work is meaningful brightens my day.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you received some valuable advise relating to your upcoming trip. Pretty funny how your generation could easily awe mine with the simplest computer savvy!