Although I have been to Mexico a few times, I did something different this time…
Yes, I did the beach; the poolside bar; and the tacky souvenir tour around the city, but I also took a trip to the countryside. I visited some small towns and villages and saw some amazing things…
There were brightly coloured small homes, all in a row; a beautiful old cathedral in the middle of a town of less than 500 people; young children shyly peering out from behind their mother while she baked in a brick oven; an old man working outside (30 Celsius heat, plus humidity) in open shack, covered in palm fronds, making floor tiles the way they have for centuries; dilapidating adobe huts that looked uninhabitable; undernourished, but friendly, dogs running free all over the villages; brilliant flora and fauna everywhere, including growing out of the adobe and red clay buildings; and a group of young boys, dressed in little more than what we would consider rags, who spend their spare time making tiny carvings out of scraps of wood just hoping to sell them for a few pesos to anyone who wanders by.
There are so many common, everyday things that we tend to take for granted as being our right to have, that are unaffordable luxuries to many people both here and all around the world. Have you ever woken up and thought “I am so glad that I have electricity; a place to live with a solid roof; or a car to drive me where I want to go”, or as you were figuring out which shoes to buy to match a specific outfit, have you ever wondered “what if I couldn’t afford to have even one pair of shoes”?
I sometimes find it frustrating that our culture (North American culture) has become so self-absorbed; so focused on our own wants that we rarely even give a thought to those with less, or those in need. The sad truth is that we often feel denied if we can’t have everything we want. When I look at my beautiful puppy I cannot imagine not being able to get him medical help at the local vets, if he needed it – how could I ever imagine not being able to take my child to the local doctor’s office? When I get up in the morning and turn on my coffee machine, my computer, my TV I never stop to think what life would be like without any of them.
I know what you might be thinking, and this letter is not intended as a dig at our social/economic development, but it is meant to remind me of how lucky we really are! (Let me explain that my family is not rich, or even well off, instead I would say that my family is of average income and means, which is still far better off than many others.) I sometimes watch the news and am temporarily saddened when a disaster or unfortunate event is broadcast; and like many others I give to charities; I even sponsor a child in a foreign land, but in my day-to-day life I often forget that there is a whole big world out there, and many people just aren’t as fortunate as we are.
I guess the point that I am leading up to is that my vacation made me feel more inspired than ever before to see how many ways, (both big and small; in my country and far beyond) that I can give back; get involved; and contribute to a better world for everyone.
There is so much more I can do! And my wish would be that all of you could join me, but if for whatever reason that is not possible, at least I know that I have had the pleasure of being able to share these thoughts with you.
I went on vacation and looked beyond the traditional tourist spots to life in the country, the real country, and left with new eyes…
Be blessed and be content!