During the holiday season it can be very easy to feel disconnected from giving. The hustle of trying to find the perfect gift, and the bustle of all the people in your life traveling, taking vacation. With all the packaging and bows, we often forget why we’re giving.
When I start to get distracted, I think about the people that I’ve met connected to Heifer’s work. I remember their faces so clearly and their stories so deeply that it immediately reminds me of why giving is so important. It’s not always about finding the perfect gift, or making sure each present has the perfect bow, it’s about freely providing someone with something that is immeasurable.
With my first Heifer trip to Zambia I meet these three young boys – due to a language barrier they couldn’t tell me their name and they didn’t understand mine. The one thing we both could understand was a smile and kindness. Their town had just built a milk distribution center, which was bringing in a lot of positive change.
To many in the village this meant new jobs, new opportunities, and nutrition. To these three boys who might not have understood how it all happened, I knew it meant a new future for them. For even families in villages who aren’t associated with Heifer still reap the benefits due to our models of Sharing and Caring and Passing on the Gifts. I may never meet these young boys again, but the gift of Heifer gave them a new future that they may not have known before.
I also met a dairy farmer in Kenya whose pride of his hard work and accomplishment was inspiring. It’s not always just the giving of the cow that is so important, it’s giving families the hope they need for a better future for them and their families. When you speak to Heifer farmers they are always so proud for what they have and what they will be able to pass on to their children. Their first thoughts are about how they can continue to give more, when they’ve just received something themselves. It’s true giving.
But I’ve never been more in awe of a group of women as I was when I met this group of ladies in Zambia. (I never saw any men in this community.) Many of the women had been widowed or left once they tested positive for HIV. That didn’t stop them from perusing personal and financial security for their families. They applied to be part of a Heifer program and worked hard to receive chickens and training they needed. Once they began to improve their nutrition, they were able to sell the extra protein for income and could then afford medicine they needed. One gift can truly safe a life.
This holiday season, try giving back to the world. It might just give you things you’ll find immeasurable to your life.