I've been in Mexico about a month & I've seen so many beautiful places, events, colors, foods etc that I still feel like a tourist. It's all still shiney and new and I've been determined to take in every second hoping my memories will serve me like photographs...determined to live my life.
I currently live in a beautiful city in an upper middle class neighborhood where it's easy to forget that beyond my little world encompassed by my home, the university (where we receive training), and the tourist spots, there are people who struggle to make a living.
Somewhere along the line I started tuning out these people, their faces, and even the goods they work so hard to sell. I went for a wonderful five-mile run this morning, all through the city's 'centro' clear to the otherside of town, running along the 18th Century Aquiduct and back up through the centro; as I crested the hill there I saw a 'Maria' (term given to poor women in indigeonous clothing selling craftwork) selling little butterfly windmills.
The first thought that went through my head was 'no, i don't want to buy a useless windmill.' I crossed the street to see some monuments for a break, and noticed two 3-4 year olds playing around and in a tree. Near them was some craftwork laying on a cloth. I sat down for a few minutes and thought how they reminded me of my brother's kids. Then it occured to me that these kids must be the children of the Maria selling the windmills across the street. Just then two young girls will a bag of torillas walked by me and took them to the kids; they all sat down and distributed these tortillas...their breakfast.
I felt ashamed at the sentiment in my heart. I drop an obscene amount of pesos on frivolas things, and my giving nature gives to those who need it the least. Meanwhile, I won't let myself be bothered by eager faces struggling to make an honest living. I asked myself how I became so miserly. I couldn't remember the last time I gave radomly, unexpectedly, a hand out or otherwise. I felt moved today to change the way I view my money.
As I ran home, I thought about the types of giving: thanks-giving (part of your daily life b/c you are happy to share), grudge-giving (giving you are guilted into), sacrificial-giving (this one is kind of hard to define, but I think of it as giving much more than your left-overs). While I do make very little money relative to the American life I lead, I want for nothing and make more than enough to be wasteful.
My spritual ephipahny was confirmed by today's church service that spoke on the adminstration of our worldly goods. The parting thoughts were to use your money to bless others/make friends, because it's not good for anything else.
Quick thoughts on hand outs: I think my intent is what matters...after all it's likely only $1 peso MEX, (equal to 1 cent US). I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this. Yes, food would be more useful to give away, but it's been a while since i handed out food on the street.
Quick thoughts on haggling: I know myself to be cheap and I get a high on haggling someone down a few dollars or pesos...but I feel less inclined to do it these days. I pick and chose when I do it especially if I know they are raising the price b/c I'm American...
In the end, I hope to be known as generous because that is what life is about.
- ► 2011 (8)