giving off the grid ::

I enjoyed giving 10$ a day so much in March that I challenged myself and others at the end of the month to keep giving.  Then on April 1, I went on holiday, found myself digitally disconnected, and felt a bit like the day’s fool.

The digital age has made it so easy for us to donate to a cause or need anywhere across the world in an instant, but how do you give when you erase the internet ? Sitting on a remote Fijian island in a disconnected dilemma, I suddenly realized that this month’s giving was going to be a new challenge. I had to figure out how to give off the grid.

As I relaxed in my hammock pondering this very question, my answered arrived in an unexpected form.  Nearly twenty children from the local village children’s club came prancing down the beach. I later learned that the guest house where I was staying gives back to their island community by supporting the local school these children attend. “How do I give 10$ to help,” I asked.

When I began to look around, I was amazed at how many opportunities there were to give without turning on my computer.  “Give where you are” became my holiday giving mantra.

Giving where I was opened my eyes in a whole new way.  When I began to look around I was amazed at how many opportunities crossed my path daily. I began to wonder if these needs were in front of me every day and  wondered why I hadn’t noticed them before.

Had I become accustomed to living in the developing world and seeing so much poverty on a daily basis that I’d become numb to need? Or was it that I didn’t recognize opportunities because I was too busy looking at my iPhone while waiting in a line to notice a donation bucket to support a good local cause on the checkout counter.  Perhaps a little of both. Either way, I was thankful for the eye opener.

In addition to opening my eyes to local needs, I liked how giving gave me a chance to give back to a place I was visiting and an unusual opportunity to learn about more about local issues, to ask questions, and to meet local people.

Rather than give away virtual dollars as I did in March, I had the great opportunity for most of this month to give away 10$ bills in a whole rainbow of colors. I  learned about a community youth programme in a small New Zealand town, a university scholarship program on an island in Fiji, and the ongoing response to the Christchurch earthquake.  I even met a girl volunteering in Sydney’s Paddington market who was collecting donations for an organization I know in Cambodia. The world is small.

I also learned about new issues and organizations that I could support when I got back on the grid- Like a Global Giving project to preserve the amazing corals in Fiji I had been snorkeling amongst and the work of the World Wildlife Fund  to protect the giant Whales I’d watched off the coast of New Zealand.

I’m home now and finally back on the grid where I’ll resume most of my $10 dollar  daily giving for April and beyond.  Hopefully I’ll remember to look up from my iPhone more so I don’t miss seeing the  giving opportunities in front of me.  I’ll post the list of all the amazing projects off the grid projects making a difference that we supported at the end of the month.  Until then…

What about you? Where can you give where you are at?


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