Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ritual #19 Help a Stranger


Feel that this one is quite difficult to coordinate actually. How do you create the opportunities to help someone? Its usually in the moment when you see that you might be able to provide some help to someone. Today I am trying to intentionally be open and available to help those around me. Its interesting however as my work as a social worker really entails helping the nursing unit run smoothly and see that the patients are comfortable and happy. Today I pushed it a little more however. I did rounds around the unit stopping in to talk to the patients and see if they need any help. Things like pull back blankets and put the fan on if someone was hot. Getting different items for them, giving them information, or just sitting by them to give them some encouragement and support. I don't underestimate how important this encouragement and support is. I've seen patients really come around when they felt like people actually cared and wanted to see them improve.

Besides this I felt like I wanted to assist on a larger scale and turned my mind to donation. Although some might think that its easy to push some buttons and send money. That's not really doing anything. Well for me as an avid volunteer I have always preferred to give my time than money. One reason is that I truly love to volunteer but the other is I'd prefer to give time than money. With volunteering time I don't feel I am losing anything. With giving money on a tight budget already, its giving up going out as much or have to be more careful with my spending. Money is very loaded for me as it represents a lot of security for me. So with that in mind I took my time looking up different organizations for one that stood out to me. I decided to choose Women's Empowerment International as they give 100% of your donation to support women in becoming entrepaneurs and supporting themselves out of poverty. Of course it also felt really fitting to give to an organization that supports women, while participating in these rituals symbolizing my transition into adult womanhood. It makes me think how much opportunity I really have in this country and as a Caucasian female in middle class society. Reading the stories of woment hoping to have enough to feed their children and lay down a cement floor. It is really even hard to conceive of those conditions with the privleges I experience. This organization is all about giving women the opportunity to get out of those conditions.

In addition to loans that WE provide they also give business training and support. WE works with affiliated organizations to provide loans and support to women in poverty stricken communities. I decided to give specifically to the Adelante Foundation. "Adelante," means progress or forward in Spanish. Adelante Foundation helps women in poor rural Honduras to improve their lives and the lives of their family. What I really dig about this organization and WE is that it is about empowerment/oppotunity versus just giving out money as charity. The loans are expected to be paid back as the womens' business improves. AF continues to provide support and borrowers of AF meet together to support in their individual business endeveors. By the way I went through network for good which is kind of like a search engine for charities. It was good to use to search for charities but they will charge a small percentage to use it. I prob should have just donated directly but didn't want to use paypal.

It felt really good to give what I could.

Here is a commentory about AF by one of the women in the program.

"I have a dream to soon build my own little home. Right now I live in my daughter's house, but last year I bought myself a little piece of land. Now I need to save up money to buy the materials to build my house. This will take a lot of work, but I'm excited about my little house and I am sure that with my motivation, hard work and some help from my Adelante loans, I'll be able to make it happen!"
Agripina Rodríguez

So I did my little part today. I want to remain open though and look out past my little world and see how I can help and make an impact in small ways.

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