My husband Bill and I went trail running this week with a friend. We started out on a gravel road, then soon turned off onto muddy single track in the woods and climbed, climbed, climbed.
Just when I was about to protest, we reached our destination, Eagle Rock. Here, there is a view worthy of the ascent and we paused for a few minutes to appreciate it. And catch our breath.
Whenever we go to this particular trail running location, I think of my dad. The trail begins at one of his favorite fishing holes.
My father was a trout fisherman, a purist. He tied his own flies from feathers and bits of string and yarn. In later life, he mostly practiced a policy of catch-and-release; his fondness for fresh, sauteed trout for breakfast never really caught on with the rest of the family.
My dad was a proponent of the old adage “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.“
I am too, with conditions.
If the hungry person is too old or sick to go fishing, then teaching him to fish won’t help fill his belly. In that case, I think, just give him a fish.
I also think this philosophy should hold true for businesses. I believe we are giving too many fish or at least selling them at a much discounted price, to wealthy corporations. They should be catching their own fish.
But I digress.
My oldest son was in the Peace Corps for several years, first as a volunteer, then as an employee. He was stationed in a remote Zambian village.
In the village where he first lived, during the rainy season, the chief source of protein in the diet of the villagers, and an unreliable one at that, was insects.
My son’s job was to assist villagers in constructing and maintaining ponds to use for fish farming, fulfilling the directive of the adage quite literally.
One year, for Christmas, this son and his wife gave me one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received, one that is still paying dividends. They donated $25 in my name to an organization called Kiva.
The premise of this organization is simple: that $25 was loaned to a borrower (along with money from other donors) to create opportunity for himself and his community. Many of the loans go to individuals in developing nations, but you get to pick the country where the money is loaned as well as the individual who receives your donation.
The money from the loan may help a widowed mom buy fertilizer for her crops or a teacher buy materials to construct a school or it may help provide clean drinking water for a village.
The loan comes with a payback schedule. When the $25 is paid back, I loan it out again to someone else. Even though over the years, I have added to the initial $25 and am now sponsoring several loans, the initial seed money from my son and daughter-in-law is still being recycled over and over again to people in need.
Here are the stories of three people I have lent money to:
Moi is a Thai woman with a husband and three-year-old daughter living in a traditional Thai stilt house in Vietnam. She needed a loan to buy small fish to help her begin fish farming to earn money for her family.
Rogaciano, his wife, and two small children live in Mexico. He used the money from the loan to buy 6,000 coffee plants to plant on his land.
Fidel lives in Colombia. He is married with two teenagers. He began selling tropical fruit from a street cart but soon learned he could make more money selling fish. The loan allowed him to buy fish to sell from his cart.
I also donate to Kiva through the Amazon Smile program.
Even though I am not teaching these people to fish, I am loaning them money to buy a fishing pole and that’s just as good. Maybe even better.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind.” Matthew 13:47
You can find the places I link up here.
I am also linking up with Carole Knits for Three on Thursday for the first time.
Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.