It’s easy to feel uninspired by the annual holiday mall crush. Will people even use those gifts? Or feel excited by the socks or sweater they receive?
There is a way to both inspire people, and help others. As a Chinese proverb says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
And now this proverb is illustrated with a true story:
Thanks to a generous Canadian who chose to avoid the malls at Christmas, a man in Central America has learned how to fish. Better still, an entire village is benefiting from the results.
Five years ago, this Canadian bought a gift through the World Vision Gift Catalogue (www.worldvision.ca/gifts) in honour of someone special in his life. The “gift” was a fish farm of two ponds and it went to Mauricio Rios in Honduras.
Five years later Mauricio has turned two ponds into six ponds– enough to feed about 30 families in his rural community each month. For parents whose children were growing up struggling against malnutrition, this food source is a real blessing.
“I have families that travel a long way for these fish,” says Mauricio. “I make sure the children are getting what they need.”
Since starting the fish farm Mauricio has also started a savings group that has 19 members.
“When something happens, like a family member is ill and needs treatment, we are able to pool our resources and get them help,” he says. “It has changed all of our lives because we were not able to do that before.”
This even spawned a school curriculum course on “the principal of saving”, something brand new in this area. The kids learn that projects like fish farms can provide food, income and help for others.
Thanks to the simple gift of a Canadian, many children are no longer too sick or weak to attend school. Their parents can purchase school supplies. People are inspired to dream — and that isn’t that the true meaning of ‘comfort and joy’?