I had the good fortune to spend a week honeymooning at Jungle Bay in Dominica with my new husband, Josh. Dominica is a small island in the West Indies – only about 16 miles wide and 29 miles long. It is very mountainous, lush, exotic – a tropical jungle and rainforest environment. While we loved the scenery and natural landscape, even more so we loved the people. The culture of Dominica is one of trust, support, and family. There is no crime. No one locks their doors. They leave windows open. They share with each other. Many folks don’t have cars and those that do gladly offer rides.
It was so refreshing to being in such a safe, trusting environment. Everyone made us feel welcome and went out of their way to make sure we were happy, too.
We also noticed most of the homes were very tiny and Dominicans did not want or need for a lot of stuff! I had packed with only carry-on luggage for our week long trip and still found I had packed more than I needed! It was a refreshingly simple way of living!
Thank goodness for my Pilates training because we had to climb 136 steps up to our treehouse cottage several times a day in addition to our daily excursions! We truly enjoyed our time hiking, scaling mountains, standing under waterfalls, crossing rivers and so much more. But one thought Josh and I had had before our trip became even more apparent while we were in this simple, honest paradise. We are very fortunate. Our needs are met and we have plenty. With getting married and receiving many generous gifts as well as merging two households – we have more than we need. Josh and I had discussed finding a worthwhile cause or family to donate to and it became clear while in Dominica this was the place!
We talked to the owners of Jungle Bay, they also run a community foundation and are very generous on their island. We asked if we could send some items and they suggested an affordable way for us to ship them! They were thrilled that we would want to send items to their island and we were thrilled that we had found such deserving people!
Josh and I also wanted to share our experiences with our two sons – 10 and 6 years old. They have never seen anything like this and were surprised when we explained there is no Target! We told them how little Dominicans have and yet they are happy. We also talked about all the nice things they have and how fortunate they are. We suggested we send some of their clothes that were too small and that they write a note to send along. Both boys enthusiastically asked if they could send some of their toys! Our 10 year-old even asked what games they liked to play and when we said soccer he wanted to send his soccer ball! How very sweet!
My challenge to you today is to take a moment and look at what you have. Realize your fortune. You have food, clothes, entertainment, a roof, a car, and so much more. It is easy to get consumed with what we don’t have and what we think we need … let’s take a moment today and be grateful our needs are met. Let’s take a moment and enjoy the simple today. Let’s be thankful for our fortunes!