What’s in your hand?

I heard a great story recently, of a Ugandan villager who was asked this question. The only thing he owned was a piece of swamp land where mosquitos bred. His land was responsible for the soaring Malaria rates in the village. Not only did he feel he had nothing of value, but what he did have was killing his people.

But instead of doing nothing with it, he was inspired to dig. For weeks he dug, until finally he hit water. Out of his swamp land, he dug two giant ponds, which became full of fish. The fish fed his family, his village and still there were more, so he took them to market, made an income which he invested back into the village, in building and education.

And the icing on the cake: the fish fed on mosquito larvae. So the malaria rates dropped too. What once brought death, now brings life.

I love this story on so many levels.

It is a story of faith, a refusal to settle for hopelessness. A story of recreation, the genius that takes something worse than worthless and turns it into a thing of beauty. And a story of relentless action, not waiting for things to be better, not knowing how it’s all going to pan out, but taking action anyway.

Another story I love is the story of Rubies in the Rubble – a social enterprise that started with a frustration over food waste, a passion for the vulnerable and an old family chutney recipe:

Brilliant things start in the ordinary.

We all have something in our hands. We can choose to discount it, dismiss it, bury it and wait to be given a better hand.

Or we can start using what we have, right here, right now – and see where that takes us.

What’s in your hand? What are you going to do with it today?

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