International Project 2016: Beauty Behind the ‘WOW’ Moments


There is much the mind thinks about during, and after, the two weeks we spent in rural India on our Softchoice Cares International Project. All your senses are on fire. Experiences no words in a blog post will ever make you fully and truly understand. I don’t think one can ever truly understand it, until they experience it for themselves.

We live in a world with so many distractions that it makes it easy to forget to take a step back, re-assess, realize and appreciate the things that make us truly happy.

One of the most inspiring and fulfilling days during our mission in Rajasthan was when the children from the local villages visited the computer lab we helped to build. ALL of them were excited to fire up the laptops and see what they could do with this technology.

At first exposure, the most simple of games (Pinball) appealed to some of them. Others were attracted to the Learn to Type program. One child that I was sitting with found his way to a sample video that comes on the laptops (which were generously donated by Lenovo). What happened next is something I never expected.
He opened this sample video that had a wildlife theme, including clips of animals in their natural habitats. About three seconds into the 30-second video, he uttered the most genuine and enthusiastic ‘WOW!’ I’ve ever heard in my life.

It seemed as though, in that moment, he was in disbelief and mesmerized by the beauty captured in this video of animals and images that I don’t think he realized existed before that moment. I must have watched that same video 10-15 times since that moment, trying to look at it through the same lens this child was watching it through.

And just like that, everything was different.

Here is a sample video on a laptop that nine times out of 10 a new owner probably deletes instantly. In this case, it was the first exposure a child had to a brand new world. This was barely the tip of the iceberg when it came to the impact the new technology Softchoice Cares implemented in this village can bring to those who take advantage of it – introducing those that use it to environments, ideas and tools to benefit from.

There are so many things everywhere around us to ‘WOW’ at, but we’ve become immune to most of them because of distractions or because we’ve grown accustomed to it.

One of the most important things I’ve taken away from my time in India is to appreciate more of what I have, stay positive, and not take anything for granted.

For every positive change you make, or help make, you change something for the better. There really is so much to be grateful for that we should be saying (or at least thinking) ‘WOW!’ a lot more often.

About Michael Di Fonzo

Mike Di Fonzo is an Account Executive in Toronto, and has been a Softchoice employee since 2008. He is also a member of the 2016-17 Softchoice Cares Board.