Not too long ago, we posed a simple question to our @BlackBerry followers on Twitter®:
…and for a “simple” question, we got some fantastic and complex answers. One of the most inspirational stories was from Brett Gilmore, a Montreal native who made a super #BoldMove when he traveled to Ecuador to volunteer with Free The Children. In fact, we were so impressed with his journey that we wanted to ask him some questions about the trip, the volunteering and his experiences on #TeamBlackBerry. Brett graciously shared some stories with us:
1. Do you remember buying your first BlackBerry smartphone? Tell us about it.
Yes I do, I was using a different make of phone and it died on me with no possibility of revival. For Christmas my mom gave me another smartphone but I didn’t really fancy it. I wanted a BlackBerry® smartphone, so I could have BBM™, social hookups and BrickBreaker. My mom and I discussed that having a BlackBerry smartphone would be better for me because she has a BlackBerry smartphone, and it would give her an easier way to contact me if I had one as well. We traded in the other device for a BlackBerry smartphone, and from that moment on I was hooked.
2. How many BlackBerry devices have you had? Which ones?
I have had one BlackBerry. It is a BlackBerry® Curve™.
3. We are so inspired by your #BoldMove – taking a trip to Ecuador to help communities with Free The Children. Can you tell us more about your trip?
In 2010, my brother Liam went on a humanitarian trip to Ecuador, which our school organized for the first time. I was so inspired by his recounting of the trip that I decided I had to experience it for myself. I had always wanted to go to another country to help others, and saw this as a great first opportunity since the purpose of the trip was to build a community school. I went to Ecuador with Free The Children on a 10-day trip in April 2011.
We landed in the capital of Ecuador, Quito, where we were staying for the night to get used to the altitude so that we didn’t get sick in the mountains. We also toured the city and learned about the culture and their history. The following day, we made our way to the community where we would be working to build the school. We came across many things such as rose factories, farms, and livestock, and we got to know our amazing driver Rigo and learn about his family. He was a great person and gave us more insight into the culture and lifestyle. About four hours into the trip, we came across the first school ever made in Ecuador by Free The Children. Seeing it and realizing what happens when one person takes the initiative and gets his classmates to help in the fight for social equality and justice was incredible.
It was nighttime when we finally arrived at the lodge we would be staying in for the duration of our stay. I got altitude sickness which made me sick as a dog and weak like a baby. Despite this, I pushed myself during the day because I wasn’t there for myself but for the children. Our task was to lay the foundation of the school, and we had to start by actually making the bricks! We made over 200 bricks by hand.
When we weren’t working on the school, we were participating in cultural activities such as going to the market, visiting a women’s group, and visiting the Cloud Forest. I returned to Montreal a different person. This trip inspired me to engage in different humanitarian activities and events, which became something I am passionate about.
4. We’d love to hear about a favorite memory from the trip. Can you share a picture with us and tell us about the memory?
My favorite memory from the trip is playing with the kids of the community. We played volleyball, tag, hop-scotch and marbles. Despite the language barrier, we had fun and managed to play and laugh together. The kids there are always smiling, and it made me realize that you do not need a lot of material possessions in order to be happy.
5. Are you doing or planning on doing any more trips or work with Free The Children?
I would love to. I am a big fan of the work they do in other countries and will get involved with everything I can. I am also thinking of going to Kenya or Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and work in a community there. I would also like to visit Rwanda.
6. If you could create your own BlackBerry smartphone app to help people, what would the app do and why?
I’d create an app that would be useful for people who sponsor a child in another country so that they can receive updates on the child they sponsored. They could get information such as the weather, pictures, letters, and other things. I think it would be cool because the child you sponsor will always be with you in your smartphone.
7. How do you use your BlackBerry smartphone now to help others?
I use my BlackBerry smartphone to send texts about things that are going on in our school, such as meetings for trips, senior day, the 30 Hour Famine, school dances, dress down days, as well as to get other student’s opinions on activities so that everyone has a voice in our school.
Thank you for your time, Brett, and for being on Team BlackBerry! Readers – did you respond to our call for #BoldMoves? What was your leap of faith? Let us know in the comments.