Give, give, give. And then Give some more.
I've been reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It's fantastic and insightful. But the point is, I ran across this passage: "The good of one self is to be the good of another."
I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea about Greg Mortenson's initiative to build schools in Pakistan, combating terrorism and war with books and education. It's a modern-day example of how we can overcome bigotry and bias by recognizing similarities among the vast human family, instead of the differences. The villagers living in the shadow of majestic mountains, beyond the reach of central electricity and running water, want an education for their children - boys and girls alike.
Their religion of Islam is beautiful, and their everyday banter constantly reflects a dependence on God, not a dependence on technology or self. I think people in my circle take Education for granted. I know I did. In fact, I took the multi-dimensional, spiritually-and-terrestrially-applicable education supplied by Catholic School for granted. And it taught me how to see, not through tunnel vision, but with an arsenal of lenses. (P.S. Thank you, mom and dad.)
So, if you believe that Education is as imperative to humanity as water is, visit Mortenson's website and check up on his progress: www.threecupsoftea.com
And what about water?
Some friends and acquaintances and fellow graduates of Villanova began an organization called Water for Waslala. Quite simply put: they visit the villages of Nicaragua, and find ways to provide clean water for the citizens.
photo by Eric Ian
Waslalans live in a mountainous territory and can't rely on wells or on rainwater. The water they drink is often contaminated, and often results in water-borne illnesses (something we 1st-worlders aren't very familiar with.) Through the efforts of WfW, Villanova engineering students help survey and design water systems that use concrete holding tanks and PVC pipes to transport clean water from the high mountain springs down into the villages, where it becomes available to school children, the mothers, the men in the fields. Villanova nursing students sometimes tag along for the trip, teaching the locals simple sanitary rules that we take for granted. A good friend of mine just finished revising the WfW website, so visit and let me know what you think: www.waterforwaslala.org
And if you think it's a good idea, tell your friends about. Just forward it to someone else. If you can't spread the cash, spread the awareness. Call me an optimist, but I think that a better world lurks just on the horizon. We just need to get everyone looking for it.