“A True Story of Learning to Listen to What People Need”
Once there was a man who joined the peace corps and went off to help the people in the jungles of Ecuador. Sometimes he would be days out in the jungle helping the people to make a change in their diet and become healthy. But then someone told him something that changed his life forever.
A young man in his 20’s joined the peace corps and was sent to the jungles of Ecuador to help people with their dietary needs. He sometimes would have to spend days in the villages because it would start pouring down rain and it was impossible to travel when it was raining. He learned their culture and started to understanding how he might help them.
What he found he had to teach the men how to farm and they in turn would teach the women who were the farmers. But he was never allowed to teach the women directly that was forbidden, in their culture men only talked to men. And if a man even touched a woman’s hand that was a formal declaration of marriage and so he would never ever touch one of the women or even look for too long in their direction. And thus he had to respect their tribal ways.
And he learned that he needed to arrive between 7AM and leave by 10AM otherwise the tribe felt obligated to feed him and give him the best that they had. And if he had to stay over night because of bad weather he could never turn down anything they offered him, even if it didn’t taste that great… you just had to eat a little and thanked them for their generosity.
And after a while he thought he knew everything about what these people needed, and he would go out and tell them what they needed. And then a great friend who was a farmer from the midwest said: “My friend listen more to what they need and stop building monuments to yourself”, and that struck him deep in his heart. Because he was not really listening to the people at all, he was trying to bolster his own ego and thus make himself feel good.
Thus the next day he went out and started listening to the natives and working on any project that needed to be done. He was a specialist in aquaculture but he then branched out to help them with chickens, growing taro, growing corn, and any number of projects that the people really needed instead of trying to make himself feel good. And with that change came a great feeling of peace that he was doing something that was really made a difference. And thus both the tribe gained in amazing ways, and his heart was healed and he felt closer to God, the Universe, and Great Spirit.
It’s amazing what happens when we start to listen.
Many Blessings to Everyone!
Dr. Paul Haider
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