Coco Calling No.226 - A Little Story of ‘The Haves’ and ‘The Have Nots.’
I’ve often said that humans are a very strange bunch, but my owner and his wife take the biscuit. All creatures know that if you’re going to migrate somewhere in the Winter, you head South. So what do my owner and his wife do? They go North into the Arctic Circle where it’s freezing cold and the sun’s gone missing. And then they come back saying that they’ve had a wonderful time!
They sailed on a boat to the top of Norway, and many of the crew were from the Philippines. Yes, -more crazy human beings. It’s warm and sunny in the Philippines – a bit like Senegal – but this lot allowed themselves to be turned into Eskimos. Has the world gone mad?
Actually, they had a very good reason for being on the boat. My owner visited the Philippines some years ago. He stayed in a nice hotel on the sea front in Manilla. On the night he arrived, he spent some moments looking out at the sunset from his bedroom window. And while he was standing there, he suddenly became aware of some movement on the hotel lawns below. Dozens of people were stretching out on the grass and covering themselves with sheets of newspaper. They had nowhere else to go; this was where they were going to spend the night. And this was the very first time in his life that my owner came face to face with the sight of raw poverty. The following day he saw the shanty towns and street beggars that form a part of daily life in Manilla.
So in many ways, the Filipino crew on board his boat were the lucky ones, with stable jobs and reasonable pay. But they still have to make great sacrifices. They work in six month blocks, after which they’d get two months off to travel home to be with their families. One of the waitresses had a fifteen-year-old son back home. She hadn’t been able to be with him over Christmas or on his birthday. All she could do was face-time him on her mobile phone. And it would be the same for so many other members of the crew; husbands would only get to see their wives for a couple of months each year and vice versa. But what would the alternative be? When Covid struck and the boat couldn’t sail, the waitress spent lots of time back in the Philippines with her son, but had to sell her car to avoid losing her house.
You could say that the passengers and the crew on board the boat represented ‘the haves’ and ‘the have nots.’ And yet despite the glaring disparity in fortune, these wonderful Filipino humans kept on giving. Nothing was ever too much for them. They were outwardly happy and grateful; they smiled and greeted everyone that they passed; in fact, they set the tone for the whole ship and made it a very happy place to be.
So what did my owner and his wife take away from all this? Well, apart from having a wonderful trip, they witnessed first-hand the art of being grateful for whatever you have, be that great or small. And they also witnessed how the act of giving to others can bring more joy than receiving. They were a wonderful crew who in many ways had discovered riches over and above those of the privileged humans that they were looking after…
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
(Oprah Winfrey: 1954-present: American talk show host, actress and philanthropist)
“…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”