The difference between them and me

12 Apr

Generous hearts

Camera happy kids

I love these girls

I want to be more generous. Over the past couple of months, I have seen people with close to nothing pour out their hearts and kindness to me. The concept of generosity is not limited to monetary benevolence but extends far greater like time, energy and attitude. Giving my time to people is often contested within the gregarious part of me and the comfort of my introversion. Naturally, I am a sanguine character that enjoys my friends, coffee and quality conversation yet on the other hand, I am perfectly content to rush through crowds of people, head bowed, sunnies on and evasive to people’s invitations to find an empty room where I can read alone for hours. In that state of mind, I do not give people the time of day that they deserve. Countless times my attitude to others is appalling and selfish.

A simple smile of acknowledgment goes along way and it costs us nothing. I believe these little acts of generosity can make the world a better place. One moment that seems so fleeting can mean the world to someone. I want to start treating people better.

When I was in Quilla Huata, the villagers were amongst the most generous people that I have ever encountered. They not only sacrificed their time for me but their money and their trust. Me, a girl they hardly know, yet majority of the village showed up on our farewell day and celebrated us. They bestowed us with bouquets of beautiful flowers, hand made personalized cards, spent the entire day cheering us on and giving us words of encouragement. They made the girls necklaces and the boys woven bracelets. These are people living in utmost simplicity, yet they never complained.

We students were treated like royalty. We spent five weeks in a rural town giving our time and efforts but when the time elapsed, we went back to luxury and comfort in developed Sydney. It’s not fair sometimes but we have to make do with what we have. Without words, their lives encourage me to live more generously and humbly. Since I am a poor uni student, I guess I must start with what I do have, a smile and time. Generosity is not about what you wish you had to give but what you do have to give.

Always smiling

Generous mother

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2 Responses to “The difference between them and me”

  1. jyd89 April 12, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    I feel the people I met and lived with in Africa were in many ways similar to those you encountered in Peru-generous, self-sacrificing, loving, welcoming and hospitable. The trend seems to be the less you have the more compassion and purity you radiate to others. I’m sure you realised how much easier it was to walk down a street/village and just smile and say hello to those you passed and recieved the same kindness-a striking contrast to our divided and selfish lives here. A sad reality.

  2. palacar April 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    I wonder if it is really a matter of less selfishness or what, but it is really incredible how welcoming and trusting people can be with volunteers. When my volunteer group was about to leave Vietnam, the street kids and disadvantaged youth we were working with invited us, out of the blue, to the house they shared, where they ended up throwing us an incredible farewell party with food, fireworks, speeches and everything. I couldn’t believe how generous and open they were being with us, basically nice strangers who barely spent a month of their lives around them and did nothing but have a good time.

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