Bill’s BLOG October 16, 2020
Have you ever really considered just how blessed you and I are living in Canada? Also, the era we have lived in? This is the first time in human history (post WW2) where there has been a sizable middle class in the Western world (though clearly the middle class is shrinking). The point is: for the vast majority of us, we have never had to go without food, clothing or shelter our entire lives. What a gift! That cannot be said for a few billion people on planet earth. In fact, many of us have enjoyed world travel, multiple vehicles, second properties, endless toys and hobbies, unlimited opportunities and options, healthcare and education to name a few. I am not saying this to make anyone feel guilty; the simple fact is we are all incredibly blessed even with the current and real challenges we all face today.
So why do I bring up the topic of giving at such a time as this. Giving is a powerful way to express your gratitude for all that we have and to help others who are far less fortunate. It is so easy to become self-focused in our North American culture and, sadly, some even applaud it. You have probably seen the bumper sticker saying, “He who has the most toys win’s”. One of the best ways to overcome our self-focus, and the risk of living self-absorbed lives is to give to worthy causes. My wife and I have practiced giving regularly to worthy causes our entire adult lives. I don’t say that to pat myself on the back, but to say that I learned early on that giving keeps life in perspective and helps keep our selfish tendencies in check. Also, there is real joy and satisfaction when we help others who are in real need and we make a difference.
If you ever get the chance, go to a developing nation (not on a holiday), but to help a family or community improve their circumstances. I have been fortunate to do this twice…once with my family. Perhaps teach locals how to become self sufficient in agriculture that works in their climate (if you have valid training or experience). You could train in business skills or partake in micro-loan programs. Construct a home or school, or drill a water well. There are so many worthy projects out there, and many credible organizations that make an incredible difference in peoples lives who could never do it on their own. You do not even need to leave Canada to find worthy projects and needs. The key is to find two or three projects or organizations you can connect with, believe in and make a habit to give out of our abundance on a regular basis. Real needs never stop so if you can, give regularly.
If you have an organization or two that you already support, then I commend you. If you are open and willing to give even a small amount to a new project, then let me introduce you to a worthy candidate in a rural village in Kiboga, Uganda. About 15 years ago, a fellow named Richard Kent reached out to me through a mentorship website I had developed. At the time, Richard was living in Kampala – the capital of Uganda. Thankfully, I had some connections to make sure he was legitimate. Richard had earned his teachers certificate and had a vision to return to his rural village and start a school with his new wife Sylvia. Imagine complete poverty and subsistence living.
Richard has a few amazing characteristics: innovation, persistence and an ability to get things done. Richard and family have had very little support in this venture, other than a few westerners who caught his vison and help him modestly from time to time. So, Richard has come up with many ideas and ventures to try to support the community and school by growing several different crops. Some have failed, and recently his sugar cane crop was accidently burned down by a neighbor – a major setback! Fortunately, other crops have flourished and provide basic food for his family, the children of the school and his community. Here are some recent pictures of my dear friend:
Richard with children from the village and one of the fields he leases.
Richard harvesting a vital root crop called cassava.
The school Richard built mainly from the sale of his crops that he started back in 2009.
The school was completed in 2014. Richard has hired many teachers from the broader region (providing essential income) and helped over 100 children receive a quality education. The majority of the families are so poor that they cannot provide any financial support to the school. Therefore, Richard uses the crop sales to supplement the school costs.
The government generally pays the teachers wages, but that is often been intermittent. The school was closed by the government since late spring due to the Covid-19 crisis. Richard recently was given the ok to reopen the school this week but with a long list of items the government requires him to provide to ensure the children’s safety: sanitizer, temperature monitors, masks, etc. These are things Richard cannot afford to provide without help.
So if you would like to help with the $650 USD need for Richard and the school, please consider contributing though a reputable giving link that is often used in developing countries: All gifts are greatly appreciated!
Thank you in advance to those who help in this important project. What I have learned about the incredible gift of giving…we give, but we receive the greater gift!