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The weekend has arrived, and it is time to explore the unknown, so we hired a little 4WD.
We aim to find a beach in a little town and have a swim and a picnic, and maybe find some kids for my son to play with.
Little did we realise that the Chinese are making ‘real’ roads, and the terrain is really more for a rugged 4WD than the little beast we have hired.
It takes us 2 hours to drive 40 km, over a kidney shaking terrain, and bridges with no sides.
The house we view are humble dwellings.
As I drive, I start to notice the change in the people who walk beside us as we drive.
My eyes are opened, and so is my heart.
I start to notice the poor – the clothes that are dirty and torn, and the lack of footwear.
Men walking everywhere – cane knife in hand; as they seek to find food.
We get lost – really lost, and stop to ask where we can find a beach.
These lovely ladies help us.
Notice the one minimal shoe only worn; and the old kids top, that is tied to form sun protection.
There is no house in sight – they have a long walk on this hot and rocky road.
We head down a bumpy, muddy dirt track that a friendly man tells us will lead us to some kids, and a beach of Tacilevu.
The track ends, and children greet us excitedly.
This is a village with hundreds of children.
Yet they have no connected electricity.
They have not one car between them that I can see – they walk and they carry all.
They have no Wii games to occupy their time.
There are no beach toys, or buckets and spades to play in the sand with.
There are no designer kids clothes – yet she is so beautiful! Just look at her.
There are no swimsuits….yet she looks like a model to me.
These girls have no mall to hang out with their friends this afternoon; they are ‘besties’ anyway.
There is no playground – only a tree to climb.
They have no climbing bar, just branches.
There are no swings.
(Note - her dress is a man's singlet and she has one shoe, and yet she is so happy and gorgeous)
And there are no balancing poles – so they use a coconut tree trunk, and bamboo.
There is not one bike between them – these are the wheels they share as they play.
They have no brand name sporting equipment….
…This game is a plank of wood and the inside remains of what looks like a half eaten rubber.
This boy is sick.
He has no building blocks, so he plays with wood bits in the dirt.
This little girl has no cubby house; she is happy in an old boat.
My son joins in happily, as they play “knock ‘em down” with old food tins.
There is not a real toy anywhere.
With one shoe, this toddler shares in the work to keep her busy.
She has the most gorgeous big eyes.
She has the most gorgeous big eyes.
Small children sit with no blocks to play with – they only have an old tin and a bit of wood.
The pig farmers stop me and ask if I can take their photograph.
His child is barefoot, and his t-shirt is all ripped behind.
The other man has a hole in back of his boot.
This man has very few teeth. He has no window, only a rusty tin house.
My heart starts to break as I look at the little he has.
But he has a smile that lights up his face.
They have no flashy homes.
There are no expensive speedboats to go and catch their fish.
These people are mainly farmers, and a self-supporting village, where all share everything they are given.
The wages - if you are lucky enough to have a job - are $1 AU / US an hour. Can you believe that?
There is only one nurse that visits the village. No doctor.
Look at this home-made wheelchair.
Most clothes in this country are secondhand.
The Indians run stores in the big towns, and sell clothes that look like the rejected stuff.
It comes from Australian thrift shops.
You would be shocked – a stained top is about $12 FJ ($6.50 AU) – that is 3 hours wages.
So look at their clothes. Most are what we would use as rags. They do not match.
Yet think of all the clothes you or your family have, and think of how many you really wear, and need.
Today, I ask you to look at all you have, your lovely home, and to appreciate what you have got.
And to think about what you really have that gives you real joy.
Look out of your window at what is around you and what do you see?
If you would like to help, we have found a second-hand shop in town where we can do a deal on bulk clothes for about $2.50 - $3 AU / US a piece.
We will need to hire a car for about $100 AU for the day inc. the fuel, and we aim to fill the car with food, clothes and shoes, and bring to share with them.
But we need many to help us.
If you would like to be part of this venture, you can donate at the top of the page, or by Paypal to email@example.com.
Even $5 or $10 makes a difference.
It would be great if we could raise $500 or $1000, but we need to do it while we are here, in the next week or so.
Together we can make a small change in these little lives.
So I am asking if you can help us in this ‘Act of kindness’?
If you could just buy that boy some shoes as he walks along the rocky road?
Or that dear lady – another flip-flop thong?
Or that pretty girl - a new dress?
Or these boys a new pair of shorts?
It would mean so much.
I am so proud of my seven year old son.
He has changed so much in a few short weeks.
He is not racist.
He shares all he has.
He is not selfish.
He now gives all he does not need.
And he is content, and happy.
Today – my heart was opened to the REAL needs of the world.
I realise we no longer just on a holiday, or a world adventure, as much as a quest to help the needy.