Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Just Trying To Help

Posted May 13, 2012 by jim young in Lifestyle

– jim young

We’re going to Cuba.


If you’ve never been – it’s a great place to vacation. And even with airfare and taxes, I can vacation for a week in Cuba for less than I can vacation in the Muskokas.

So I like to help out the people in Cuba who are less fortunate than I as much as I can.

As we began to prepare for our upcoming trip, I remembered a friend of mine in Cuba had asked if I could bring him back a laptop should I come back to the same area sometime.

As we pack our suitcases with essentials and gifts that are hard to come by in Cuba due to the U.S. Embargo we are restricted only by the weight limitations on the plane and what might be considered contraband in Cuba when we arrive.

And while I don’t have a lot of money left in our budget for a laptop I am sure there are many people who have workable laptops destined for the landfill site or electronic recycle bin that would be more than happy to see it go to a good cause.

Ergo – my recent ad for a laptop in reasonable working condition on Kijij.

“I am looking for a working laptop computer.

Preferably Free but would consider paying a small amount for it if necessary.

It doesn’t have to be the latest model. I just need it to be in working condition to suit the basic needs of a young family in Cuba who could use some assistance.

Last year I was approached by a worker at the resort with a request to bring back a computer for his family if I was returning. We have decided to return to this same resort in early June.

I think he was expecting to pay for it, but as he works very hard for so little, I would like to take one to him as a gift for his family.

I will be certain to let him know that the laptop is not from me but from a generous and “Good Samaritan” that just wanted to help out someone less fortunate.

These people work so hard for so little and are still some of the happiest and friendliest people I have ever met.

So if you have a working laptop in reasonable condition that you’re not using and wondering what to do with, please contact me and I can assure you it will go to a good cause.

Thank you.”

I was surprised at the number of replies I received from people who – although do not have a laptop to help me out – have offered their encouragement and praise for doing a very small part in trying to help out the people of Cuba.

Except for one.

Cecil (real name, but email address withheld) wrote this:

“You do realize that your new Cuban ‘friend’ tries this with every single tourist dumb enough to listen right? If you want to be a good samaritan then do it on your own coin. If you can afford to go to Cuba you can afford a cheap Laptop off Kijiji without putting your pathetic begging bowl down.”

Not that I felt an obligation to, I responded to Cecil’s email with the following:

“Dear Sir,

Thank you for your very wise and compassionate advice. I don’t know how I’ve gotten through life without being taken advantage of, as you suggest is the intent of my friends in Cuba.

But then I’m only 60 years old so perhaps your warning came just in time.

You may be interested in knowing, however, that I have only been approached twice in Cuba with requests to bring a laptop back should I return to the same area. Both times the request was made with what I believe to be a very sincere request to pay for the laptop.

Both of these people, who were making the requests in the hopes of being able to provide their children with a bit of an advantage in such an impoverished country, have struggled very hard just to be in a position to afford a laptop. But as you know, with the U.S. embargo still in place, laptops are very hard to come by.

Of course it appears that I do not have the same level of insight into human character, as do you and I am very grateful for your concern for my well being.

For the record, you will note in my ad, if you are literate enough to read and comprehend it, I have offered to pay a reasonable amount for a laptop if necessary. But you see kind sir, the more I spend on a laptop, the less I will have to spend on much other needed commodities that we intend to fill our suitcase with, to help out the needy in Cuba.

I also know that there are many people who have laptops that they no longer want and they might like to see it go to a worthy cause rather than contribute to the filling of our landsites. So it would be a win-win situation for all involved, if that’s not too difficult a concept for your tiny brain to grasp.

And one last point. It is cheaper for me to spend a week in Cuba even with the cost of air travel than it would be for me to spend a week in the Muskokas. I am not a wealthy man by any means, but I get by – not that it’s any of your business.

I am reminded of a line from a classic Walt Disney movie “Bambi – in which Bambi’s mother admonished Bambi with some advice that went something like this. “If you don’t have something nice to say – Shut the fuck up, asshole!”

I believe Cecil is a rare breed – thankfully.

– 30 –

One Comment


    That’s the Jim I know. Dick Smyth, with a razor blade.

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