Throughout our time in Shangri-La, we had the opportunity to interact with many unique people of different backgrounds and experiences. At CERS, we learned from Drolma, Dr. Bill, and the Tibetan children who continued to surprise us each and every day. When we went into Old Town and began working at the farm and Compass, there was a new group of individuals with new stories and those who had overcome adversity that led them to their lives with Carol, the owner of Compass. One individual, Chris, struck me from the beginning with his story and passionate views toward giving to the community and serving for the pure purpose of helping others. During one of our breaks at the farm, I had the opportunity to talk and interview him, learning about his personal views and motives that continue to drive him to support himself and others around him.
“One individual, Chris, struck me from the beginning with his story and passionate views toward giving to the community and serving for the pure purpose of helping others.”
Chris, a New Zealand native, is a veteran to the farm and Compass. After working three weeks with some friends at the farm last summer, Chris fell in love with the mountainous area of Shangri-La and serving the community through Compass. The family atmosphere of the group allowed him to grow and learn about himself. Chris was able to provide the team with skills and technology that were not yet acquired by the group. This year, Chris called Carol and Joe, wanting to come back to the farm once more to continue to serve and give to the local people. This time, Chris will stay at least a total of two years. While Chris is ready and open to work wherever is needed with technology or farm work, his main role revolves around English speaking groups that come through the café or the farm. Life here changes quickly and regularly and Chris is always up for the challenge and areas of need.
Growing up, Chris was very interested in academics and enjoyed learning while also performing well in the classroom. Naturally, he decided to attend university and received a one year scholarship. After one year, he still was unsure what he was specifically interested in and refused to earn a degree just for namesake. Since his scholarship ended and his academic passion was not yet found, Chris decided it was the perfect opportunity to take a gap year at a discipleship training school where it challenged himself and his values, learning to consider the benefit of the whole verses self. This environment allowed him to grow and develop internally and influenced his way of life as one to serve without accepting anything in return.
Throughout his experiences of his gap year and at Compass, Chris has been trying to seek the answer to the question of what is the value in civilization. He wonders why we invest so much in technology and architecture yet the happiest folks he has met were in a village in Fiji with no electricity. Chris seeks to balance a simple life without having to abandon everything else. To live simply without complications that drag him down but with opportunities to serve and give to the people.