On the Camino de Santiago, the kindness of strangers was a constant and overwhelming part of the trip. No matter the circumstances, when in need, a fellow pilgrim was always there to help. If a person were to sprain an ankle on the trail, I swear the first pilgrim on the scene would be an orthopedic surgeon. The serendipitous nature of help and charity astounds me.
I love the following Chinese Proverb: If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap. If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a month — get married. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.
Several years ago, I was fortunate to hear Vincent Kituku speak at a private function. After his inspiring presentation, I approached him and made plans to have lunch. This man was born into poverty in Kenya and somehow found his way to Boise, Idaho. Soon after arriving, he discovered some men that were sleeping in an abandoned building. He took it upon himself to start feeding them and ultimately became a central force in the opening of the Boise Rescue Mission. Since that time, he became a successful author and speaker.
His new passion is a self-founded charity named Caring Hearts and Hands. For several years, Vincent has raised money that is used to sponsor a basic education for children in Kenya. This group currently supports over 170 students. His frequent travels to the area are kind but taxing on his soul. To see the day to day poverty, suffering, and insatiable needs takes a toll on his sanity. There is short term sadness and depression associated with his endeavors, yet he still marches forward.
Not only does he play God by selecting the students for his program, but he also needs to play judge and jury by deciding who continues to be funded. He is so torn by this decision that he found another silver lining. Vincent is raising money to build a self contained school with dormitories. His new vision is to offer vocational training for the students that are not capable of handling the academic pressures. Instead of kicking them to the curb, he will be sending them on their new path with a practical skill.
I am inspired by people that give so much of their lives in the service to other. This selfless desire to help others is a wonderful characteristic.