A brief experience recounted by a group of young people in Taipei.
“Here in Taiwan there has not been much news about the Ebola outbreak, apart from when there seemed to be some danger that it might spread outside of Africa. For most people, it is a distant problem that has nothing to do with them. But we Youth for a United World (Y4UW) – both from Taiwan and some international students who are studying Chinese here – felt differently because we feel that every person in this world is part of the same human family.
Thanks to a friend who had been in Sierra Leone, we were able to get in touch with John who lives there and who belongs to Y4UW. He told us about the terrible situation that everybody is living: shortage of food, people who are dying, and a government that doesn’t have enough resources to help, and also about the efforts that he and others were making to provide some assistance to people in need.
So, we decided we had to take action, and set about organising a cake sale. Although it was only a small thing we all felt so happy because at least we were no longer helpless and passive in facing such a huge suffering. Spending time together baking the cakes also helped us to strengthen our friendship and gave us a renewed impulse to promote peace and unity in our everyday lives. There were also moments of doubt about whether we could really sell all the cakes that we had made, but we decided to go ahead, trusting that if we did it out of love then everything would work out.
On the day of the sale it was really amazing because we sold everything, and some people even donated extra money so that we made far more than we expected. Even more important, lots of people became more aware of the terrible suffering that Ebola is causing, and saw how Y4UW is truly living for the whole human family. By chance, three Africans happened to pass by and thanked us for what we were doing for “our Africa”. But one of us answered, “not your Africa, our Africa”, which really summed up the spirit of the whole occasion.
Two impressions from our friends: “When I heard about the Ebola epidemic,” Chung Hao says, “I didn’t know how to help them, but this charity event, even though it was something small, made me realise that when we young people are united, we are a potent force, not only in helping concretely, but also because in awakening the concern of friends around us.” And Xin Ci commented: “The cake sale was an important occasion to contribute something for those who are suffering because of Ebola. When I arrived and saw the tables covered in beautiful, tasty cakes I saw how much effort people had put into it and I was really moved. I always wanted to do something for the world, and these small acts, done with the infinite love of everyone can be communicated to every corner of the world. I really felt happy to take part in this event with my friends.”
“Since this article was written, the experience has continued,” Brian from Taiwan says, “as we had another sale involving students from Fu Jen University. We are now planning a further activity – making greeting cards so as to raise more funds. Apart from the important achievement of raising money for a very important cause, this activity has energised us and brought about a stronger sense of what it means to bring about a united world.