This is the first in a series of Q&As that we will be posting over the coming weeks. The idea is to give you an insight into the wonderful folk who lend their expertise, their commitment, and their time to Caleb’s Hope.
We’re going to start with the Head Honcho, our Fearless Leader, Holly Elissa Lamaro (or Lamaro Holly Elissa).
How did you first hear about Caleb’s Hope, and how did you get involved?
One of those late night infomercials. It was amazing.
What is it about CH that drew you to the organisation?
To answer this question in my own way, as the founder: I knew I was supposed to start an NGO and then I met Caleb – and that was the end of it. Or the beginning, depending on how you look at it.
What is your fondest memory of volunteering for CH so far?
Just getting on a plane or a bus or a bike and not really being sure about where you’re headed, what will happen when you get there, what the people will be like, or how you’ll react – I love that.
Is there a particular project which has captured your interest over your time with Caleb’s Hope? Why?
I love the on-going business investment and development aspect of not only Ugandan businesses but of any country in Africa. There’s a really twisted view of Africa held by the ‘first world’ folk – even the ones that come to help. I find all of it very peculiar. So, I do my best to focus on people doing great things, like Project Diaspora, for example.
What has been the most enjoyable aspect about your work so far?
I am learning new things every single day. I have the privilege of meeting awesome colleagues in the humanitarian world. Actually having Greg Mortenson (CAI, ‘Three Cups of Tea’) follow me on Twitter was a highlight of my NGO career. No joke. I was pretty chuffed. That man is beyond cool beans and totally the real deal. None of this success by popularity crap. Just good old fashioned hard work and getting ‘er done.
Do you own any NYARA jewellery? What does it mean to you?
Do you even have to ask?
(For those who have been with Caleb’s Hope for an extended period of time) What is it that has encouraged your continued support?
The women, Richard, and the good people in Gulu and Atiak.
What is your favourite childhood memory?
Being struck by lightning. Kidding. I was struck but it wasn’t a top moment in time. Hmmm, I don’t know… I talked a lot to myself, drew pictures of Ancient Egypt tons, thought about space and the universe on an on-going basis, and read the dictionary for fun so… yeah…
What are your top ten favourite films?
In no particular order: The Fall, The Whistleblower, Agora, Beyond Borders, A Mighty Heart, The Aviator, Rocky (all of them), The Constant Gardener, Frida, Edward Scissorhands and I’ll watch any film Meryl Streep is in.
Where is your favourite holiday destination, and what special memories do you have from there?
Usa River, Tanzania at my friend’s lodge called Ngare Sero. Memories: The food and peace of mind.
If you were stranded on an island and only had five personal items with you, what would they be and why?
Aw man! I hate these questions. There are just too many variables to consider. Okay, I’d have something to drink out of, something to cover my feet to walk over harsh debris and such, a first aid kit, a knife, a compass.
What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?
I don’t like zombies. I prefer aliens. I can only answer questions about aliens, not zombies. Sorry.
Have you supported any other charities over the years?
Yup! Gosh, okay, it started with SIDA/AIDS Moncton, then Students for a Free Tibet. Rose Charities, BC SPCA Biscuit Fund and currently WSPA and SOS Children’s Villages.
If you have to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I don’t even know. This question is just too much. It’s worse than the stranded island bit. Do I pick a ‘superfood’; do I go for sweet or savoury? I just don’t know.
When you have time to yourself, what things do you like to do to relax/unwind?
I smother-love my one-eyed dog, I ride a bicycle, I am a Kundalini yoga practitioner, I climb, I read, I bake, I watch NASA TV, I sleep, I watch movies, I go outside and look up. I do stuff.
Claim to fame?
David Suzuki and I eat at the same sushi joint. I feel cool by association.