We're not here to make ourselves rich… Well, that's not all. I want money just like anyone else because it's required for my survival. But there's more to money than surviving; there's success. Success, to me, isn't just having items or experiences. It's having the opportunities that lead you to be able to help others.
The past two days, I haven't been posting to the Reader because I needed to really enjoy my vacation and I have been. Desirée and I went snorkeling and hung out on the beach and went cave tubing. We explored the streets of Belize City, took a ferry out to the islands right off the coast of the country, and rode through the rural areas to see how people lived outside the urban centers. From all this, I took two major things: Belize is beautiful but Belize lacks opportunity.
Desirée and I had one driver from the time we got to the hotel until the time we arrived back at the airport. Mr. Luis Martin put us on to the great local spots to eat, hooked us up with a tour guide for our cave tubing, and was always on time to pick us up from wherever we were. He was so trill that, when I ended up having to stop at an ATM at night to get some more cash out, he stepped out of the car with me, stood guard behind me, and he had something on him to protect himself and me as well.
In America, Luis would've been a philanthropist. In Belize, he is a great philanthropist. He and his wife (whom Desirée and I had the pleasure of meeting) at one point had a community center for the kids of their neighborhood so that they wouldn't get caught up in the drug trafficking that is common here. He said he likes driving taxis because it allows him to know what’s going on around the city and then to use that information to help people who need opportunities.
When we said we wanted to go cave tubing, Luis contacted Alfredo, a freelance tour guide who not only knows the cave systems, he knows the geology that made them as awesome as they are. When it comes to earth science, no offense to any of my former teachers, I would put him up against anyone who studied geology at an undergraduate level and I bet he could teach them some things. But here, Alfredo takes tours from time to time, works odd jobs at odd hours, and enjoys a simpler life. Part of me envies his freedom. Another part of me wants more for him. Since I couldn’t give him more, in that sense, we tipped him pretty well. That gave him a smile. I hope it’s used as a down payment on a “one day” dream he told us about but I may never know.
This is why those of us in more developed nations have the opportunities we do. Certainly, it's to set ourselves and our children up for awesome lives. But it's also to be able to feed into the lives of others. We have to create opportunities for those in our communities, states, nation, and world. I shouldn't be better off simply because I was born to certain parents in a certain state in a certain country. And, if I am better off because of that alone, then I have a responsibility to help make my fellow (wo)man better. The problem is, we're so afraid of competition that we don't think of the possibility for collaboration. By helping the best minds of all nations succeed, we're helping humanity as a whole. Or are we so egotistical that we want America to be the greatest nation ever? Let's change our way of thinking. Let's acknowledge that, the real reason for privilege and opportunity is so that others can be helped. You have a responsibility to be the best you that you can be not for yourself but for the world that you are here to help.
Make philanthropy a priority.