Of all the wonderful experiences one can have while sailing around the
Caribbean Basin, there is a gestation of appreciation of home that takes some time
The wow’s of storms, whales, close calls, magnificent sunsets, great fishing
days all come on so fast in the experience of it all. The close friendships you
develop with fellow travelers and explorers you meet along the way that share
your hunger for excitement. With so much beauty you are splashing through, the
ugly seems to be left in your wake.
Some of us boomers I think fall into a unique category I call latent patriots.
Our fathers who fought for our country and our mothers who stood by their sides
had a much different experience than we did. There were real adversaries and
threats that were external to our nation. They endured hard economic times that
tempered their desire to succeed and be productive for the greater good.
We were raised on Lassie, Ozzie and Harriot, Father Knows Best, Leave it
to Beaver and the like that for the most part exemplified the best of us.
I’ll never forget how thankful Ginny and I were after leaving Haiti for just
being Americans. I had never experienced as an adult such an oppressive place.
We gave away most of what he had and seriously contemplated smuggling our
guide out of the country. This portion of our adventure was after we had spent the
better part of a year in the Bahamas diving with a family in the Exumas collecting
lobster, Grouper and conchs. One of the families who adopted us lost a two year
old son for the lack of under $10 worth of worm medication.
By the time we exited the Dominican Republic for Puerto Rico, something
was drastically changing my world view. Being removed from the Walmarts, K
Marts, fast food, fast entertainment, fast transportation and fast life style had done
a number on us. Shopping and living in third world countries for an extended period of time
puts you into cultural shock when you re-enter the fast lane.
So what I am trying to say is that the poorest living in the U.S.A. are living
so much better than the greater percentage of the peoples of the world. Who we
saw suffer the most were the children. I’ll leave it with the statement that we saw
some things that broke our hearts. You can do something that makes a huge difference and
could really save a child’s life for what it would cost you to eat at a mediocre
restaurant. I can guarantee you that the heart rewards and blessings you will
receive by the small sacrifice of supporting a child in any third world country are
I like the last verse of Corinthians 13; “Now abideth these three, faith, hope
and love, but the greatest of these is love. There is a child out there that is not
only physically hungry, but spiritually hungry for your love. It costs so little to do
so much and the rewards are huge. Go and google up an organization that
ministers to the needs of children. The good ones give 80 cents of every dollar to a
child who simply is hungry for your love.
I typed this article for Neil and had the following thoughts, so this is Ginny.
There are billions of people in the world who earn less than $2.00 a day and have
no hope of anything better than this poverty level to improve their lives. If their
children were able to prosper through your help, perhaps one child at a time could
achieve hope that their individual lot in life could indeed surpass that of their
parents and ultimately their education could improve their country for future
generations. I think that it is our responsibility as Americans to help these poor
countries and invest in these children to improve future generations through a
child’s contribution. Teach them and give them the education and tools to fish so
that their future and their children’s future and ultimately their country could be
pulled out of the grips of poverty…. Americans can’t give foreign aide to help
billions and billions of people, but an American can give the tools and help one
child from one country a chance and hope for a future. From example after
example of the approximately 173 countries that our tax dollars have been used for
foreign aide, it has come to light that that money has simply lined the pockets of
the rulers and oppressors of those countries.
The other day I was raking leaves on a pretty still day and the land that I
worked looked pretty clean afterward. That afternoon the wind picked up and
there was no sign of where I had raked because the ground was again covered with
leaves. Even though I had burned the leaves that I had raked, it seemed like a
million more leaves fell down to take their place. I said to Neil that I didn’t
remember so many leaves as this last year and then I thought, well the trees grew
and therefore grew more leaves to scatter. From this little example of everyday
life, I couldn’t help but not think of the poor of the world and compare it to my
leaf pick up. I could deal with a few leaves, but I couldn’t continue to rake and
expect to have a good result with the millions that came floating down around me..
Both Ginny and I believe that America is an exceptional place to live and
every one of us is truly blessed to be here. We also believe that our government is
not anywhere close to being responsible or wise concerning our foreign aid policy.
Yes, we should be willing to generously donate to those who have experienced
disaster. We also believe there should be an accounting process to insure funds or
aid supplies don’t end up in the coffers of some other government official who
doesn’t care about his or her fellow citizens.
The biblical admonition of “to whom much is given, much is expected”
applies to us all. You as a good hearted giving American should be a responsible steward of
your gifts and not some career bureaucrat who is wantonly spending our grandchildren’s God given inheritance and freedoms.
Neil K. and Ginny Haynes May 2011