Making a difference
Growing up in a developing nation has given Daniel Fama a unique perspective on the world. In fact, the years he spent — from age two to 15 — living in Papua New Guinea seem to have shaped the entire course of the Langley man’s life.
For the past three summers, the graduate of Aldergrove Community Secondary has traveled to Tanzania, in east Africa, where, working with Food for the Hungry, he has helped to distribute medical equipment and promote education among its people about a number of serious health threats — most notably malaria and HIV/AIDS.
To better communicate with the people he was there to help, Fama learned to speak Swahili. These days, he’s brushing up on his Arabic in the hope of working in the Middle East, where he’d like to take an active hand in the ongoing quest for peace between Isreal and Palestine.
While he’s learning the language, Fama is also volunteering at the Middle Eastern Friendship Centre in Surrey, where he helps provide services for Middle Eastern and North African immigrants to Canada.
Earlier this month, the Langley man was recognized for his work with Food for the Hungry in Tanzania, as someone who is “Making a Difference.” Fama, 23, is the global projects intern for Trinity Western University and one of eight leaders under the age of 30 from all over B.C., who are being recognized by the BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) as global citizens and models of civic engagement.
Fama works as an intern at TWU in the Global Projects office of the Student Life department, where he is responsible for planning volunteer trips for about 80 students each year. He places them with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Mustard Seed homeless shelter in Calgary, and the Bay Area Rescue Mission in San Francisco.
Growing up on an island in the South Pacific, Fama was exposed to a wide variety of cultures and languages, he said.
“It was amazing. We were pretty rural, and there were people from all over the world in the community.”
His parents worked on a variety of projects including literacy, bible translation and community development, helping the community to meet its most basic needs, such as clean water and proper sanitation.
Fama is comfortable that he has fulfilled his role in Tanzania during his past three visits, and he’s anxious to move on to the next challenge.
“I feel like we’ve empowered our partners and left them in a state of sustainability,” he said.
“My contract at TWU ends in April and I’m eager to get out into the world, he said.
He’s also looking into law school, with an eye to becoming an immigration lawyer and providing affordable legal help for new Canadians.
“It could be three months in the Middle East and then law school; it could be a year in the Middle East and then law school,” he said.
Whatever the future holds for him, it will involve some form of international service, he said, because it is the right thing to do.
“Our neighbours are not just the people from the same village, religion or ethnicity. I feel like Canada and its citizens have a responsibility to reach out, both to immigrants and to people outside (our country) to help eradicate poverty.
“We are blessed and we can make a difference to people around the world.”
Fama has produced a video that documents a team of TWU students delivering medical containers to Tanzania. It can be viewed at www.fhcanada.org/Trinity-Western-University-Container.