Important Lesson from Guatemala

While I am working on my next blog post about impact investing and social entrepreneurship  I thought I would share something a friend of mine sent me this morning:

“I am thankful for…
The taxes I pay because it means that I am employed.
The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
A lawn that has to be mowed, windows that have to be washed, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
The spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.
All the complaining I hear about government because it means we have freedom of speech.
The lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.
The huge piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.
The alarm that goes off in the early morning because it means that I am alive.” 

 

I live in a somewhat torn-down house with a group of fellow Americans and I feel like we are always complaining about something (crappy internet, bugs everywhere, water turned off most nights, etc.). These petty complaints fill me with guilt when I remember that 10 minutes away from my house are 8-person families who live in 1-room huts with dirt floors and no electricity. They worry about where their next meals will come from and if they can afford to send their children to school. A bad storm or minor illness can financially bankrupt the entire family. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the quote above because those are all things I have complained about at one time or another. Living in Guatemala has taught me to be thankful for many of the things I have spent my entire life taking for granted: a roof over my head, running water, electricity, enough food to eat, access to doctors and medicine, an education. I am a little more than half-way through with my fellowship and I look forward to continuing my search for innovative ways to help the thousands of Guatemalan’s in need gain access to the things so many of us take for granted.