Wednesday 6th June 2012, Indonesia.
This one has been a long, long time in the making. I'd asked Rich to take part in Wearelucky back in October 2011 and he'd turned me down. I couldn't understand it. There's no catch! Why wouldn't he just take the money? Rich had reasoned that he'd simply end up spending the whole lot on day-to-day living costs and he didn't want to see it go to waste. He was skint, but adamant that his own financial situation meant that he wouldn't be able to create something positive. I must admit, although I understood his stance, I was still disappointed. Rich lives in a region of extreme poverty where a thousand quid can work miracles and I felt sure that he was capable of facilitating something great, so I left offer open. Rich thanked me again and promised to get back in touch should his circumstances change.
Eight months later I was thrilled to receive an email from Rich explaining that he'd had changed his mind and was now in a position to think about the people around him and the potential impact of the cash. Fantastic! I sent the money immediately. This was one encounter that has really made me think about the responsibility of money and I greatly admire Rich's strength of character in making sure the cash went to something good. The only downside is that we'd missed the opportunity to grab some pics, so Skype was the only thing for it. I think I quite like them actually.
Questions & Answers
1. What were your first thoughts and feelings when propositioned with Wearelucky?
Excitement. Pride. Luck. Trepidation. Responsibility.
2. What have you decided to do with the money?
I've split it between two people, Anny and Arifin, and I think it will make a big difference to both of them. They're people that I know I can always turn to if I needed help. In the short term, I hope Anny is able to put the finishing touches (windows, tiles on the floor) to her house. I know this would ease the pressure she feels being responsible as the eldest child, to look after her family. Arifin will, I hope, use the money to further his small business renting scooters to other teachers. The money could pay for a new bike and give him a valuable asset. It may be a bit ambitious to say it will put him on the road to self-sufficiency but it'll be great to give something back to someone who has previously helped me.
3. Has Wearelucky challenged the way you think about giving?
Not really. I've always enjoyed giving and feel lucky to be handed this opportunity. Even aside from the fact that it's not really my money, it's nice to be able to give something and truly want nothing in return. Even so, I'll still get something out of it. I think everyone wins.
4. Why do you think we feel good about doing something for others?
Altruism. Parental instinct. I think we feel good doing something for someone else because most of us are basically good.
5. How did the people close to you react when you told them about taking part in Wearelucky?
I haven't really talked to many people about it. I haven't seen my family since I agreed to take part. My mum likes the idea (and my ideas on what to do). She's without fail the most generous person I know so I'm not surprised. We spoke about it earlier on Skype.
6. Is there anything you'd like to ask Wearelucky?
A few things: Are you happy with the way the project has gone? Would you do the same again? Have there been any negatives? Has anyone refused the money cos they assume you're crackers?