Overcoming poverty is incredibly difficult, but most experts agree that education is essential. Imagine for a moment you’re among the hundreds of millions in the third world who need corrective lenses, but can’t afford them. Your journey towards education and a better life is halted before it can begin…
- planted native plant species
- removed non-native ones
- prepared emergency food kits
- cleaned up the beach
- more exhausting, but rewarding projects
Last month, an interesting opportunity to give back arose. My parents were planning a trip to Honduras, a somewhat unusual vacation destination. They were going there to pick up my younger brother Dave (pictured right), who was completing a two year service mission. We asked Dave if there were any items we could bring for the people he was serving. His response was surprising: reading glasses. Most Hondurans, he said, could not afford reading glasses and couldn’t learn to read as a result. Since we only had a couple pairs between us, we asked if they needed anything else. Another surprise answer: neckties. In a country where the poverty rate exceeds 70%, ties for job interviews and special events simply aren’t affordable. Instead of writing off Dave’s suggestions, we decided to enlist the help of our friends and coworkers.
My dad first circulated an email at his law firm, Payne & Fears, and one by one the eyeglasses started arriving. I admit, I was a little nervous pitching the idea to the office, but I was amazed by the positive response. TweeterDeeter helped write, and Miranda designed the handsome flyer many of our neighbors saw in their break rooms. Then, Martin, Peter, Walter, and the rest of the ecoPeeps canvassed our neighborhood distributing flyers and explaining the drive. We set up the donation bin in the lobby and waited for a response.
Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect but we weren’t prepared for the incredible response. Some of you arrived with your old reading glasses, others had purchased new pairs to donate. Still others carried pouches, full of supplies from you and your coworkers. By the time we added the donations from our office, the bin was overflowing. I took your donations home where they nestled into a suitcase for the long journey to Honduras.
My parents arrived in Honduras to meet Dave and handed him a suitcase (yes, an entire suitcase!) full of your donations. Not knowing what was inside, Dave opened suitcase full of the donations and was overwhelmed. They took the suitcase to the local mission leader for distribution throughout Honduras. When I asked Dave about the experience, he said “It’s awesome when people from the United States give to Hondurans. When people there think of an American, they picture someone who’s fat, lazy, and doesn’t care about their struggles. The donations will help people learn to read and find good jobs, but they also create a favorable impression of the U.S. which lasts their lifetimes.”
All of us at ecoSolargy want to thank those who donated to this cause. Your contributions have already improved the quality of life for hundreds of individuals. Reflecting on the impact of this project, I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes by anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Again, thank you for joining ecoSolargy on our journey towards brighter future.