More than Charity



by Isaac Portilla, Author



I was exiting the Oceanographic of the City of the Arts and Sciences in Valencia when I faced a long desolate street.

In the middle of it, far from where I was, there was a woman.  Sitting on the floor and not moving, she was patiently waiting ― waiting for alms without asking anyone.  I took a coin from my pocket and I walked toward her.  When I reached her, I stopped and deposited the coin in the blue metal box with a picture of Christ that she had in front of her.  She said thank you.  That was it.  And this is the problem.  The “that was it” is something that has always bothered me in these situations.  There is always a frustration when you give to charity ― the frustration that you know you cannot do more than that.  “There will always be poor people,” some say.  “You cannot do more than covering their basic needs,” others would affirm.  But what if we could do more?  And what does that mean?

                There are major problems in the poor sectors of our societies and they are more than just covering “the basic needs.”  Are not human beings more than the cats and doves of our parks?  A human being needs more than food to live, as to be fed is just to survive, and survival is not the same as living.  The human being needs opportunities to have a purposeful life.  Can you imagine being born in a place where you need to beg for food since you were a child?  Thus, the question that arises is obvious, how to give opportunities to those who have very little education and live in marginalized environments with major integration problems.  When I heard about the ISEEK and ISE projects for the first time, I thought that this was a great example of how to do it.  These types of solutions come from people that care and are willing to put their time in a consistent manner to achieve results.

                Additionally, this is a project focused on women, and we owe women much.  This is a “man’s world,” as it says the song ― it has been and still is a man’s world.  But if human beings would not need both poles for reproduction, which world would be nicer: the man’s or the woman’s world?  Which would be closer to Life, closer to Sanity, closer to Nature, closer to the Divine?  So, if there is some Sanity still in this world, it is because of women’s energy.  It is good to give opportunities to women.  We need women to feel welcomed in this world.  Thus, when I put my coin into this project’s box, I will remember the woman in Valencia, and will think that this time I will not buy her food, but instead, I will buy her an opportunity to feel fulfilled.