This morning I received the Peace Corps September Newsletter. The first entry was a post from our Country Director. When I read it, it had such an effect on me that I decided to share it with you all.
“In the craziness of life, and especially in the Peace Corps where our days are filled with a million tiny struggles and triumphs, sometimes we forget to say thank you or to commit random acts of kindness. It is clear to me that all of you have enduring kindness residing within you, or you would not have come to this juncture in life. Committing to Peace Corps service in and of itself is testament to this kindness that you all bear. I have tried over the years to make a conscious effort to commit random acts of kindness; to go back to those people in my life who have made me unique and say “thank you”; and to make a point to show people their value to me and to the world.”
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
“Think back, what was the last thing someone did for you that was selfless and kind? What made it so special? How did it make you feel? Wouldn’t it be great if right this moment you picked up the phone, wrote a letter, or sent an email to tell them how much it meant to you? Do it. Telling them will not only brighten their day, but encourage them to keep doing random acts of kindness for others. We are all givers in so many ways (especially PCVs), but oftentimes we don’t see the fruits of our kindness, to know that we have indeed made someone’s life better or more meaningful. So I say reach out and tell them, even if the happiness it brings just lasts long enough to bring a smile across their face. Wouldn’t it be nice to give that gift to someone else?”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
Anonymous giving- the deepest form of selfless action one can possibly produce. The simple acts of kindness, the extra minute we take to hold the door, the smiles we share just because we can… After I read that post I found myself contemplating about random acts of kindness. How the receiver feels? What feeling the action produces within the giver?
That afternoon I walked by the same woman that sells me coconut “empanadas” and mofo akondro (fried bananas) every morning. Instead of just purchasing my tasty greasy snack and going on my routine presidential waving walks around my village; I sat down next to Madame Fara and with my little Malagasy asked her about herself, her family, and her business. After a great discussion, much gesturing, and giggling, Madame Fara paused took my hands and said simply- Misoatra (thank you).
“Make a commitment in your mind that for one month you will focus on expressing gratitude, in small, but significant ways, to those who have made your life what it is and to the stranger on the street. On a daily, or even weekly basis, do something for someone with no hope for reciprocity; be anonymous with your kindness and do it when people least expect it.”
Kindness the universal language.