The British Prime Minister has been promoting the ‘Big Society‘ for a while now. What exactly he means, and what exactly it is supposed to be isn’t entirely clear. Empty sound bites and guff sum it up pretty well in my opinion. It was one reason I felt unwilling to vote Tory in the last election. Really, it’s just a new way of saying ‘streamlining’ or ‘efficiency drive’, phrases which fell out of favour when it became clear these were just new ways of saying ‘cutbacks’ and ‘job losses’.
I do like their new idea of having cash machines (ATMs) automatically giving users the option to donate money to charity. Where did they get that wonderful idea? Well, that is something that’s been done in Mexico for years. So ironic. Things are improving in many ways in Mexico from a social perspective, but the populace generally despair that their government’s awkward shuffling steps forward will ever allow they to catch up with the developed nations. Fear not amigos, for as you shuffle awkwardly towards a state of ‘development’, we Brits and others shuffle awkwardly in reverse. In so many ways. We’ll meet sooner than you think, perhaps.
I’m not, I should hastily add, against charity. Not at all. It’s simply the direction of society I’m commenting on. You’re on your own Jack. But I have been thinking about charity today after reading the article. I’ve hardened since I came to Mexico. I sometimes get annoyed by beggars. More so lately than usual. I think it’s just because there seems to be so many at the moment. And they can be both intrusive and demanding, pushing cans in your face or leaving notes on your lap on the metro. It’s not the British way. Suffer in silence, damn you. Or at least whine about the weather instead of hunger, like everyone else. It’s built in, you know - genetically. Culturally too. I can’t help it.
I’m not entirely without empathy though, especially if the recipient is a turtle. It’s just I sometimes need a conscience-pricking prod to remember my own good fortune, and to make a conscious decision to throw a few pesos in someone’s direction. It doesn’t come 100% naturally every time. And it’s Christmas after all. Today I was generous, and gave a few pesos to three ‘lucky’ recipients. The first was the gentleman below. He was wandering around side streets off Alvaro Obregon playing his sax while a young girl held out a cup. A sax really resonates through that neighbourhood. It’s fits, and he played it well. Too well to be begging, I thought. I gave him ten pesos and got a photo to boot.
I ran around the metro system for a day in 2007, climbed a big mountain in 2008, ran a half marathon in 2009. And now I’ve decided what I’m going to do for 2010, and it’s going to be far more sedentary! Although not necessarily a walk in the park. More of a walk along the road. A long road. Insurgentes to be precise. All 20 plus miles of it. The purpose. Meh. Something to do. A day out with my camera. Oh, and of course, to raise money, once again, for Wildcoast, my favourite charity.
And bloggers of the world, I need your help! As with previous years I intend to raise money by running ads on the blog I’ve created especially for the event. To do that I need a good page rank, and to get that I need bloggers to write a post about my effort (just a few short words will do!) and include the code I’ve put on this page. When you publish your post, the code should look like normal links – Insurgentes Mexico City and Tours Mexico City.
Your post really does make a big difference, as I point out in the post over on the Insurgentes-athon blog. And help in previous years has helped me raise about US $600 so far. So feel free to encourage other bloggers you know to post about it too! Gracias a todo!
I ran the half marathon (mostly, apart from the last 2kms!), I finished the paid adverts I’d be doing, collected the cash and have now PayPal’d it over to the two charities. The Akumal turtle charity got their $100 last week, and hopefully Emm will receive her Turtle Adoption certificate soon. Today I sent the remaining $207.50 over to Wildcoast. It’s not a huge amount, but in total over the last three years I’ve raised more than $600, which is a worthwhile amount. I pat myself on the back! Someone’s gotta do it…
Thanks to everyone who donated (all three or four of you!) and thanks to all of those who wrote about and linked to my Marathon blog. Those links gave me a Page Rank of 3 which enabled me to do the paid adverts which made up the bulk of the cash. I think I got about ten links in all….that’s about $28 per link. The Wildcoast receipt, minus blurry email and home addresses is below as a little proof of my deed, and because I always put an image with a post…
I’ve done a Metro Marathon, covering ever station on the Mexico City Metro system. I’ve climbed Mexico’s third highest mountain. And I’ve run the equivalent of a marathon, albeit by running two half marathons. Now I just have to decide what to do next year. Something that is themes around the 200th Independence Anniversary would be cool. Any ideas?
Today I reached my fund raising target of $300. Woohoo. I’m running the Mexico City Marathon in September – well, half of it anyway. Dodgy knee, you see. I’ve been raising money through paid advertising on my marathon blog and donations from anyone and everyone who wants to add to the fund. It has to be said that most of the $300 has come from paid advertising so far, but I’m going to start pestering my students and real life friends soon. Hopefully I can get up to $400 or more.
Anyone can sponsor me of course. I don’t mind if I don’t know you, or we’ve never met….you’re more than welcome to contribute! I’m raising money for two causes, both based in Mexico, both helping turtles amongst other things, and anyone donating $5 or more can win a cool prize worth $100. Just guess how long it’ll take me to run the 21kms, and the closest to my actual time gets the prize. Click here to read the details. It’s easy to donate and $5 isn’t much. I’m doing all the real hard work. Not just by running all that way and the training involved, but also by writing some really dodgy adverts to get a few extra dollars!