A few years ago, I started looking for ways that I can use my time and skills to contribute more to the world around me. One way I found that I could help my community was by volunteering for my local fire department as a volunteer member of the Alpharetta Fire Corps. I've really enjoyed my time volunteering with the Alpharetta Fire Department, and it has excited something in me that I can't really explain.
The first time I was called in to help on a structure fire, I realized what it means to give. It didn't really click at first because everything was so hectic. There were 4 fire engines, 6 police cars, and 2 ambulances. There was no time to realize what was really happening as I ran around performing my duties as a Fire Corps team member. After the house fire was suppressed, I had a moment to stop and reflect on what just happened.
A family not only lost their home, but everything in it. I started thinking about the things I own and how devastated I would be if I lost them. I mean, possessions can be replaced, but it's what they can't replace that is heartbreaking: the memories, the favorite blankets, the family photos.
That's when one of the firemen walked out the front door with a wet, singed, but intact photo album he found while extinguishing hot spots. I watched as the fireman handed the photo album to the homeowner. The homeowner tearfully gave thanks as the neighbors welcomed him and his family into their homes.
Feeling that selflessness made me want to find a way to do more. My fiancee works for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, and the Diocese of Atlanta Young Adults are going on a mission trip to Dodoma, Tanzania. I told her I wanted to go and she eagerly arranged for me to meet with her and Bishop Alexander.
I couldn't hide my excitement as Bishop Alexander told me about the ways I could help the people in Tanzania. It turns out that the places we are going have pretty good technology, but have nobody to help them maintain it. They have many computers which are in disrepair.
Not only will I have an opportunity to fix their computers, but I'll be able to help teach them some basic computer repair. I'll also get to teach them how to use their computers and technologies better. I'm thinking about setting up a VPN endpoint down there so that volunteers here will be able to provide tech support without having to be on location.
I feel like I'll be able to do some good and I'm really excited about it. Lauren and I will be leaving for Central Tanganyika with the rest of the group on May 2nd and will be returning May 11th. The cost will be right around $3000 for each of us.
Lauren and I are hoping to defray our cost by asking our friends and family to help. I get about 85 readers on my blog per day so I thought I'd post this here too. If you have a few bucks to help us, we would really appreciate it.
Feel free to snail mail us:
Lauren Woody and Patrick Caldwell
295 Crab Orchard Way
Roswell, GA 30076
My email address is dpatrickcaldwell and I use gmail.
I'd really appreciate it if you included a note with your donation. I only have a few weeks in Tanzania, and I'd love your input on what I should focus on. Any ideas for maximizing their technological capability? Anything in particular you think I should teach them? Also, please let me know if it's okay for me to blog about you, your company, or your support.
I'd like to be able to thank our supporters on my blog, but if you would like to remain anonymous, that's no problem. Rest assured, we will be eternally grateful.