The original destination for this Give Back was Istanbul, Turkey… but, my plans took a turn for the better.
I had booked a round trip to London, UK from Canada and was looking for a destination close by to visit in the meantime. I landed in London and found that flights to Istanbul were expensive. While researching nearby countries, I stumbled upon an island nation called Malta. After a quick Google search and on a whim, I decided to book my flight to Malta.
Upon landing in Malta, I was immediately blown away at the beauty this island nation offered. From its incredibly rich history to its beautiful landscape, Malta took me by surprise!
My first few days were spent exploring the country. Maltese is a diverse and complex language consisting of Latin, English, French, and Arabic. The lifestyle in Malta is quite simple and the locals are all so kind and approachable. Historically, this island nation served as a medical port during World War 2. Injured soldiers used to receive medical treatment in Malta. It is a strategically located island! The island’s history is rich and a must-see for enthusiasts that love ancient artifacts.
I visited a tourist shop in Saint Pauls’ and met Matt and Betty – an incredible couple Matt and Betty. They have helped change a single man’s life. We chatted for a while and I explained my organization. Matt and Betty were so happy to hear about Give Back Globally and wanted to help! They informed me about a homeless person who lives with them. His name is Barry and they met him outside a bar in Malta.
Barry has had an interesting life.
He was born in Northern Ireland and grew up as the son of a military soldier. His father served in the British Army for 27 years and he led a nomadic life, travelling around the globe with his father. Following in his fathers footsteps, Barry enrolled in the army at the age of 19 and spent a majority of his adult life in the military. While serving in Germany, Barry met a fair lady and they got married. Together they had a child who they unfortunately lost at the young age of 7 due to cancer. The loss of their child devastated the marriage and ultimately led to a marital divorce. Barry decided to travel again and worked odd jobs in London. One of his friends offered him a job to captain a boat over to Malta. He arrived in Malta and lived on the boat for a few months until he was able to sell the boat for his friend. Once the boat sold, Barry rented an apartment and lived there while working as a chef in a local pub. He was later evicted as he was unable to pay his rent and developed an addiction to drinking alcohol. The only option left for Barry was to move in with friends, who were also heavy drinkers. This essentially exacerbated his substance issues and led him into a cyclic, toxic rhythm of drinking daily.
The night he met Matt and Betty, his life began to change. At first, the couple funded a hotel stay for a few nights to support Barry. Now, Barry lives with them in their home! I asked Matt and Betty why they took him into their own home. Such an action seemed foreign to me. They explained that they felt like it was “the right thing to do.”
Matt and Betty were also originally from London and they unintentionally moved to Malta. After a vacation on the island, they decided to make the adventurous move. They loved it so much that they started a small business in Malta selling tour rides. Matt was kind enough to introduce me to Barry. Barry opened up to me about his life story and I felt inclined to provide assistance. Give Back Globally sponsored his expenses for the next few months to ensure Barry was financially well-supported.
Today, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Barry continues to live with Matt and Betty and is doing well.
Despite my short visit to Malta, I was left with a genuine heartwarming feeling for this island nation. Malta has an oddly home-like feeling and I left feeling nostalgic knowing that one day, I would return.