Hope from Our US Office

COVID-19 quarantine here in Asia is showing signs of loosening as recovery numbers increase. There is a light at the end of this tunnel for all of us! Just last week, a few of our Starfish Project staff met in a sunny park while maintaining a bit of social distance as our mask-clad kiddos chased each other around. In the same week our US office in Indiana was closed and told to ‘shelter in place’ as the pandemic hit America. COVID-19 has hit our Starfish Project family twice. I sat down and chatted with our US Operations Manager, Stefanie (you know, Desmond’s wife) and was so very impressed by the thread of gratitude and hope weaved into her honest experience of COVID-19 Stateside.

Stefanie shared that both personally and professionally, she is feeling pretty worn out. Stefanie said, “Due to both my job and my husband’s job, it feels like we’ve been dealing with COVID-19 for a long time. However, I’m very grateful for our health and for our jobs. In the midst of all of the uncertainties right now, we feel very blessed.”

She continued to say, “It’s been hard not to see family and friends in person, but I have been so grateful for today’s technology to be able to keep in touch with them. We’ve had to sacrifice some personal plans that we had for the next few months, but we are trying to remain hopeful that things will get better soon.”

I am so inspired by Stefanie’s response. There is no need to deny it: the days are long and the weight of a global pandemic is exhausting. Yet she never just stopped there. In every response, the final word is hope and gratitude. What incredible life lines to hold on to during this season. “It is amazing to see communities rally together. It’s inspiring to see people’s kindness and generosity during this time.”

Stefanie shared, “Due to the impact of COVID-19, the US office and our headquarters in Asia really had to work together around suppliers being closed in Asia and problem solve UPS being temporarily closed. Our team came together via email to make a plan and figure out how to get inventory to the US to sell online.”

Stefanie’s encouragement to other companies at this time would be to overly
communicate with your team. She shared, “It’s been encouraging to see how productive our team has been when there’s a broad understanding of what everyone is dealing with. It makes it easier to practice patience and it gives us an opportunity to support each other during this time.”

We all need a little (or a lot) of patience and extra support both personally and in our jobs as we daily choose hope over fear in the midst of a pandemic. Let’s join our hope together with Stefanie’s this week to believe for freedom for those trapped in exploitation, medical workers serving without appropriate protective gear, and for our personal wellbeing during this time.

Stefanie, like so many of us, is working from home at the moment. She has
set-up a standing desks, since she doesn’t have the natural “getting up” that happens in the office. She also sets certain times throughout the day to take a 10-15 minute break away from the computer and get outside.

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