Mar 10, 2011

Dominican Republic: What are we thrifting for?

We all have a problem in this country: we are addicted to money. Can I tell you how I know this?

We rely on our morning Dunkin' to get us through the day. We shop for fun. We need to organize, sell, donate, and clean out our stuff regularly because we have so much of it. We are aware of the fact that there are people in the world who have nothing, not even fresh, available water on their streets and yet we are reluctant to give.

On this trip to the Dominican Republic, I was struck by the fact that I spent 0 dollars the first 3 days we were there. I didn't buy a coffee, or a sandwich, or ice cream, or any gifts. In fact, I never even brought my money with me when our team went out. Our meals were provided for us, and we were face to face with people who were willing to do anything for a good education and a fair opportunity at life. Buying a latte never crossed our minds.

Our team walked the streets of Los Tres Brazos, where naked children ran down the streets unaccompanied, with glass and trash stacked on the corners. We reached a farther section of town where a local told us "this is the part of town where families have no well access". We saw a man and women, together, carrying buckets of water to their homes because they simply had none in their homes or on their block.

I've been to third world countries before, but not like this. We walked into peoples' homes who had not even 200 square feet of living space. One home had only a cramped bedroom with a dirty uncovered mattress for the family to rest their head and a small television set that broadcasted the lives of the "haves" to the "have-nots".
I'm planning to save money my entire life and be thrifty and save money. But, for what? What's the goal? I want to live simply. I want to give. I want to make a difference with my money. 

Now, how can I break this to my pleasure-seeking self?
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