Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Joy of Giving

I earn a modest income, that is, on American standards. Yet, I enjoy giving to worthy causes, such as my church, my community, and to random individuals who really need a helping hand.

This morning, I was eating breakfast at a local café, and a woman came over to me spewing the same tired-ass words I hear often from creative panhandlers: pardon me sir, I mean no disrespect; I'm on my way to the welfare office and I just need $2.00 so I can get my kids something to eat

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My joy in giving includes Daniela and her neighbor and playmate Mariana at a play-center in Grocio Prado, Perú.

OK! Since we were already in a restaurant, I suggested that she order something for her, and especially the children who were with her, and I will pay the bill. I was expecting a bill for $10 or $15, which I didn't mind giving to what I thought was a worthy cause. When I actually saw the bill, I was astonished that it was only $4.00; she bought a little sandwich. This woman was not hungry, nor did she want to feed her kids. She was just another creative panhandler.

Javier, of Chincha, Perú works long hours doing odd jobs to eke out a living. He would be eternally grateful to programs here in the U.S., which help the poor help themselves instead of depending on handouts.

My mind immediately went back to my goddaughter Daniela, her family, and her neighbors in Perú whom I send money via Western Union on a monthly basis. Every time I call Western Union and am told that the money I sent has been cashed, I get that familiar joyful feeling. I feel joyful because I'm sending money to people who don't have the resources that this woman I met in the cafe has; nor do they have the opportunities and resources to advance their economic standards like this woman I met in the café does. In most countries in the world, there is no welfare, general assistance, or unemployment. If you don't work, you don't eat (period)!

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My joy of giving includes, clockwise, Daniela, Alma, Mariana, Yomira, Zenaida, Ruth, Javier, of El Carmen and Chincha, Perú.

Giving what I can afford to give to Daniela, her family, and her neighbors is not only a joy, but a worthy cause. I'm thankful to be in a position to give what I can afford to help those who really need the help.

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  1. I hope more people will do what you do whe they read you, is a beautiful thing indeed .

  2. Bill,

    Again, very intriguing blog and myself, I prefer to offer food, drink, coffee, etc to the homeless in leiu of money. More often than not, they decline.


  3. Being in Ecuador, I've had a lot of time to think about the dynamics that support a lopsided market system where the most powerful "haves" not only control a lot of resources, but sometimes strategically maneuver behind the scenes so that the "have-nots" remain in dire situations with vague or non-existent prospects for improvement. The rhetoric on "hand-outs" that we so often hear from the U.S. political right is void of the full picture. U.S. slavery, for instance, was one big handout, extorted from blacks to prop up a HUGE portion of the U.S. economy and benefit a few rich and powerful. Rarely do we look at such systemic exploitations as "handouts" for the exploiters.

    The vision is clouded. The big guys hog the resources and drop crumbs as "charity" or "goodwill", when they often gained their power and money through robbery in the first place. The middle class acts as a buffer but now so many middle folks are seeing that they really aren't that far from the poor after all.

    I agree. Everybody should work. However, it is not wise for a population to work like donkeys, without contemplation of why the work atmosphere is the way it is. I read a book called "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair when I was about 13 and it forever changed my outlook on the workforce and how we contract our labor. Yes, we should work. However, we need to break the bamboozle-ment that leads us to overlook who's really been getting over with handouts.

    On another note, I really admire your generosity and the fact that you've basically become family with separated brethren in another land. Your experiences serve as inspiration.

  4. Jaylynn,
    Your points are well taken; especially about the haves and have-nots, and how the big guys hog the resources and drop crumbs as charity or goodwill. Being that I'm an employment counselor by profession, I'd like to check out the book you read, “The Jungle.”

    Let me ask you a question, however. What is your opinion of those who have a clear opportunity to advance their economic status but refuse because they are content receiving crumbs of charity and good will? Being an employment counselor I've seen this phenomenon for many years.

    Those folks in Perú with whom I get a lot of joy in being so generous would jump at any opportunity to help themselves that I see so many people reject.

    I'm going to be in Quito, Ibarra, and Chota in mid-December. I hope we can meet for a hot minute and chat over coffee, tea, or juice :-)


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