Some cause happiness wherever they go; other whenever they go.
We are living in a time of monumental social and environmental challenges that contrast unparalleled technological advances. Historically, there has never been so much literacy and never before so much poverty. It is estimated that in 1 BC there were 300 million inhabitants of the entire earth and today, three times that many men, women and children, are chronically undernourished.
For those those who have read Paul Hawken’s book, Blessed Unrest, you may agree that we are in an unprecedented time in history. The extreme global challenges have pressed upon millions of people’s hearts and minds and they have been moved to actually do something above and way beyond paying taxes to make social improvements via the government.
No one knows exactly how many charities there are in the world, but with over one million charities in the USA, 175,000 in the UK and 165,000 in Canada, this represents a huge movement that is addressing global problems governments are either unable or unwilling to tackle. The dramatic rise of charitable organizations is a very hopeful sign of the awakening of people to the needs of our global neighbours. This response is unprecedented in history, facilitated by our communications technology, but initiated by the hearts of caring individuals.
Project Somos is a product of this growing awareness of our interdependence on each other. Many people ask us why we chose Guatemala? One reason is they are our hemispheric neighbours and they are high on the global list of nations in desperate need of assistance, where millions of children are malnourished. When volunteers meet the Maya people in our village, they are moved by their dignity and beauty. They are simultaneously disturbed to see their obvious social and economic distress and stark lack of opportunities.
Our real work Guatemala is to simply provide opportunities for the children and our neighbours in the Tecpan region. We have repeatedly seen children excel when given a chance. There are many examples, but one local example is literacy. Our village of Chivarabal has no library and the local school has no books for the children to bring home and read. When we offered a Project Somos “library” afternoon for the local kids, 35 showed up and they devoured the 100 Spanish books we had collected. From this, we decided to make one of our 2014 goals to build a library and gather 1000 books.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
I agree that the awareness of our global challenges can bring a deep heartfelt unrest, a knowing that there must be a better way for everyone to live and someway we/I can move in that positive direction. I believe that there is a connection between unselfishly giving of our time, talents and resources and happiness. If one continues to care about the welfare of our neighbours beyond borders and takes action, it can create a lasting happiness in one’s life. I can’t presume to tell anyone where to put their commitment, I only know the world needs you, me, all of us, to stand up and get busy.