We just finished an amazing week of volunteer efforts on the island here. Some interesting facts…
- We had a total of 35 fulltime and parttime volunteers – that’s a lot of people!
- Of those, 16 were “first timers” who can now consider themselves “veterans.”
- We impacted approximately 1,000 people on the island in that time (more on that in another blog)
One of the first timers, Roger Hoy, made the comment as we were returning back to town from installing a water collection system for Jose’s family “You know…regardless of the kind of day you’re having, you just can’t help but be happy when you leave that family.” Now, this comment wasn’t reflecting the warm feeling you have after you do a good deed. Roger was pointing out that every member of this family seems to have a smile on their face whenever you go out there. The children run out to greet you, anxious to engage and offer their assistance as “project apprentices” and the adults are forever grateful for our efforts. I have yet to have anyone go out to this home for the first time and not leave with the same impact, saying “these people have next to nothing and yet they all seem so happy!”
We talked about this at length last evening after our closing dinner. You quickly find yourself questioning why we place so much importance on material things. It’s so easy to get caught up in the cycle of having to own the latest iPad, a newer car, nice clothes, personal items…..yet most of these things are truly not necessary and they certainly don’t guarantee happiness.
Yes, Jose’s family is forever grateful for the things we’ve done for them and they tell us they can never repay for what we’ve provided. But the truth is that every person who leaves their home rethinking what happiness really means has received a gift far greater than what they’ve given. Yes, the “receivers” ultimately became the “givers.” It really does come back ten-fold when you give to others. What are you going to do for someone else today?
– Larry Pedersen