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The (Unconventional) April Report

Updated: May 1, 2020

Technically there were no bottles recycled this month due to the coronavirus pandemic. These times call for unconventional measures. So this report will be a little unconventional.

Forty-four days into quarantine and time feels like it has slipped away from our grasps. It's hard to believe that less than two months ago, we hoped and we prayed for the next three day weekend to finally come. And one day, it just hit us, a sudden disturbance to the monotony of our daily routine. We sat down and gave it a try, and for a brief moment, we believed that it might have been for the better. But, as each day of nine to five Netflix and a million' bored in the house' Tik Tok's passes, hours pass slowly and excruciatingly. From living in a world of never-ending hustle, we were left with so much time on our hands that it's overwhelming. Now removed from the only job, the only routine and the only life we have ever known, it is difficult to recover our lost sense of productivity and purpose.

When you first think of spending hours upon hours sticking a bunch of plastic bottles into a machine with the efficiency of a medieval torture device, enjoyable is not the first word that comes to mind. But the minute you realize you cannot continue anymore, it becomes clear that every single bottle put into that machine, even that one bottle that you have to insert thousands and thousands of times over until the machine finally accepts it, has purpose. Every single minute spent in that small recycling station has immense purpose. You begin to realize that a teacher, a parent, a longing student, are all relying on you to put that one bottle into the machine.

Without being able to recycle, it was difficult to feel a sense of purpose. Everything needed to come to a halt, and it was not something that we could control. But as humans, we could not just sit down and wait for the water to simmer. Project Ripples needed a sense of purpose again.

A big thank you to Justin Li and Emma Sy for lending us a helping hand. You really kept the ball rolling!

Instead of finding ways to change lives from a global perspective, we began to change lives right here at home. We started a local grocery delivery service for the elderly, most susceptible to the virus. Our old friends and our new ones, paper bags in hand, joined in the effort of bettering the lives of others. Over the weeks, we answered call after call, delivery after delivery, searching for purpose. In a matter of weeks, we were receiving calls from all over the community. And at those times where it became more than a one-person task, there were always friends willing to help achieve the Project Ripples vision.

But the one big thing that we could take away from this experience is that we didn't need bottles to have a purpose. Being able to alleviate binding burdens by doing the simple task of grocery shopping; that is purpose. The feelings of importance that people received from knowing that someone cared; that is purpose. Even having the brief conversations over the phone with someone who just needed somebody to talk to; that is purpose. The truth of the matter is that finding personal purpose does not lie within what we think we can do for ourselves. Finding personal purpose does not even start when we think of ourselves only. Finding personal purpose is only achieved when you are able to give others the ever so treasured feeling of purpose. Thank you, everyone, for giving Project Ripples a sense of purpose.

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