Simply Joyful

A lesson on how those with little can teach us a lot about happiness

By Henry Flores

August 26, 2021 | 40 Years 40 Lessons

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Part of my work as a reporter for Unbound involves visiting families participating in our program so I can cover their inspiring life stories. The stories move me deeply, and sometimes I like to share these moments on social media so friends and family can travel virtually with me.

A friend once wrote this comment on my Facebook wall: "Congratulations on what you do for those most in need."

This made me ask myself, “What do I do for people living in poverty, and what is it that they do for me?”

In a 2019 photo from Riobamba, Ecuador, Unbound’s regional reporters director, Henry Flores, left, visits with sponsored child Milagros and her mother "Veronica" in their home.

What they do for me can't be measured because it’s not tangible. It’s bigger than that. They give me an endless spring of faith and hope, even when their reality makes me think they’re in a hopeless situation.


The gift of contentment

What they do for me can't be measured because it's not tangible. It's bigger than that. They give me an endless spring of faith and hope, even when their reality makes me think they're in a hopeless situation.

They teach me that one does not need much to be happy through this ride called life, even when sometimes I think they can't be happy having so little.

They are lights of inspiration that shine in this world, with their laughter that is pure and sincere, even when sometimes I have labeled them as the “suffering and marginalized.”

Their simple, beautiful celebrations and musical expressions as families and communities have brought me great enjoyment. They've shown me that a good party doesn't depend on how much you spend but on how much you appreciate those you are with.

They are happy with the rooster crowing in the morning after dreaming all night by the light of one candle. They greet the sunrise while already hard at work in the fields, while my mornings are filled with the stress of the news, checking the day's appointments and navigating my way through traffic.

In a photo taken in Bolivia in 2019, Henry Flores, left, shows sponsored youth Diana her image on his digital camera. Henry’s fellow Unbound reporter, Carolina Pulgarín, right, captures the moment.

A heart of gratitude

So, what do I do for the poor? Anything I do is small in comparison to what they do for me, but one thing I am sure of is that I thank them for offering me their true friendship without expecting anything in return. I thank them for opening their homes to me, and for their lived testimony of faith and hope. And I thank them for the extraordinary gift of offering me their hearts because they are capable of loving generously and with no limits.

After reflecting on these things, I thanked my Facebook friend for helping me recognize the greatness of the so called “most in need.”

About the author:

Henry Flores guides Unbound’s team of reporters based in five regions around the world. His work covering the life stories of sponsored individuals and their families has deepened his belief that they’re more than capable of reaching their goals while building their own paths out of poverty.