The world is not such a big place nowadays and a Nanaimo man has been taking advantage of the fact, spending the last decade travelling and working in different parts of the globe.
Jan Kerekes has seen a lot, often in unconventional ways, and has learned a lot as well.
“I have also kept my faith in goodness in people. Always,” he said. “Even in the parts of the world that are considered dangerous or wild, I always believe in people.”
Three years ago, Kerekes spent three weeks living with the Iban tribe in the heart of the Kalimantan jungle on the island of Borneo.
Kerekes learned a great deal from these people with old mystic traditions, and hard ways of life.
“I could also see the little breeze of change that one person could make in their lives, change for something new, change to improve their lives,” he said.
Treated not only as a guest, but as a friend, Kerekes promised to come back. And with that promise, an idea was born.
“It is because of the remoteness as well as their limited resources that many basic things do not find the way into their little village,” he said. “So I decided to deliver them myself. As simple as that, as much as I could carry – and I can carry a lot.”
Kerekes is hosting a collection day Oct. 21 in the parking lot of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 301 Machleary St., from 12:30-4:30 p.m. for small household items, school supplies, cutlery, basic fishing gear, clothing, toys and more.
“I believe that things, items from everyday life, should be put into use, given a second chance, instead of just lying around a house or being thrown to garbage,” he said. “I would like to collect all kinds of usable items, pack them into two big hockey bags and bring them across half a world so they can find new, happy owners.”
Deciding to see if the goodness in people can stretch across the oceans and continents, Kerekes hopes people will donate gifts they would want themselves.
“This is not a charity run or typical second-hand items collection,” he said. “This is just a chance to see that set of kitchen ladles that you never use in the hands of smiling lady in the floating house in Borneo. To see alphabet books that helped your own children, helping in a simple school built on stilts by the river side.”