One Person at a Time


Do you know the saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!”?  I was trying to follow it’s advice; hence the long pause in my posting.  I try to keep the posts here on a positive note but sometimes just reading the newspapers puts me in a foul mood.  The world is just full of incidences which are competing to be the worst news.

Since the previous post on the Norway massacre, there has been renewed fighting in Syria and Libya, the train tragedy in China, the flooding in Korea and the terrible famine in the horn of Africa.  If I stuck to the saying above, you will not have heard from me for a long time.

But I read something that shamed me.  While I was sealing my mouth and sticking my head in the sand, one blogger faced the horrors face on and decided to make changes in her life.  I picked up the thread first at Jess’s (Daysgoby) and she led me on to Jenny (Just Jenny from the Blog).  My admiration to both ladies.  If you want to be challenged to be a better person, please visit those posts – especially Jenny’s.

Then I came across an article about Marc Gold and suddenly, I had something super nice to say.  Marc Gold is known as the Shoestring Philanthropist.  He had been a volunteer working with Mother Teresa one summer.  However, at the end of his stint, he was depressed by the size of the problems and the urgency of the needs that he saw.  Mother Teresa told him that he couldn’t save the whole world but he could save one person at a time.

Later he went to Tibet and by chance met a woman who had a serious ear infection that had gone without medication and  the ailment had become potentially life threatening.  He spent just USD 1 for the antibiotics that saved her life.  He then found that for USD 30, he could buy her a hearing aid that would restore her quality of life.  He was shocked to see how little it cost to achieve so much.

As a result, Marc started the 100 Friends Project that for 22 years, since 1989, has changed lives through these small donations and projects.  Each person that is helped is asked to promise to pay back the generosity by helping others in the community as the opportunity arises.  To date, Marc has collected donations and given away USD 550,000 on these projects.  His aim is to give away USD 1 million and become a kind of reverse millionaire.

Suddenly, I felt inspired again, not to be overwhelmed into inaction but galvanized to do what I can  – one person at a time.

(If we feel we cannot do anything personally, we can always pray or at the very least, give through organisations like Marc’s)

Marc Gold: Making a Difference in Kabul
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17 thoughts on “One Person at a Time”

  1. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing…this made me cry, and feel absolutely ashamed of any time I have griped about unemployment, debts, or anything that so verily pales in comparison to what these people have suffered. And as it happens, I have been looking for a blog topic, so if you don’t mind I’ll borrow this one. What an amazing man!

  2. That’s why I do my volunteer work. I feel like if every person did something, even if it feels small, it can only make the world a better place.

  3. I felt that way in India, but resolved to just “do what I can do”. I currently give to three programs when I can: “Food Lifeline” (local), “Heifer International” and “Save the Children”. I really hate the thought of any person starving to death. It makes me cry to think of another parent/guardian somewhere in the world that has to try and comfort a starving child(ren). At 15 months my son is already learning empathy by how we treat eachother and those around us. ~M

  4. Riot Kitty,
    Glad that you want to take up the topic. Thanks. It feels good that the message will get more exposure and maybe encourage others like me to get off our bums. Sorry about your recent loss.

    geewits,
    And I do salute you and your work. Your regular visits means a lot more than just warm food for the people on your route. You bring much joy. As a student in UK, I used to visit shut-ins once a week and all I did apart from some small housekeeping chores was to share a biscuit and tea with them and allow them to tell tales of their lives. So little a sacrifice on our part but so big a significance for them. Keep up the good work, sister.

  5. jess,
    Indeed. I was particularly taken aback by the figure of USD 13 billion to feed the poor each year. It may sound like a lot but as Jenny pointed out on her blog, the world spends so much more on war or on trivial things. So if we all did something, it would have a big impact

    secret agent,
    Thanks. I know you have a great heart – after all you have made a career out of helping people.

  6. Anil,
    Something that Ghandi would have taught as well, I believe.

    melanie,
    My soul shivers at the thought of a parent helplessly watching their child die of starvation, especially in a world of plenty and of waste. We can only be thankful that it is not our horrible fate to experience such. Good on you for imparting empathy to your son.

  7. this is completely off topic, but I used you as a guinea pig for something I was trying to do. you probably got a weird email…I’m guessing. 🙂

    and I like your post…I voted above…

  8. Timely post. I am feeling very much like you…quiet for similar reasons. Thank you for this post – a reminder that small deeds have an impact and the introduction to 100 Friends Project. Very inspiring! 🙂

  9. emerrube,
    guinea pig is alive and well ….but I didn’t receive any strange email.

    Laura,
    Similar thoughts. Keep up the good work with your blog. You are doing good, one post at a time.

  10. Both legs, both arms. Last time I saw this was on phtographs of the Great War to end all wars, WWI, but naturally – it goes on, so the wounds are just not seen here, but surely and accurately inflicted on humans.
    At the moment I’m too flucking poor to give money away. I help some older people here with things like writing and such. It’s incredible what public authorities write – I deal with texts for my whole adult lifetime, but I have to use a dictioniare or have to phone these people. Some old people are simply afraid of doing this.

    Sometimes I think all that is left IS prayer.

  11. Mago,
    I think we all can tell that you have a caring heart and you do what you can. The important thing is to do something, no matter what and not become so cynical as to do nothing. The thing we do may seem small to us but we cannot imagine how much it may make a difference in someone else’s life.

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