Thoughts. Words. Action.

How to spend $700,000?

How to spend $700,000?

There was once a minister in the federal government of a country.  He had a wealthy friend.  There was also a retired provincial legislator in the same country.  Collectively they had about $700,000 (the minister $100,000; the friend $400,000, and the legislator $200,000) to spend and wanted to find that special something that would give the best return.

They looked into real estate.  The global economy was down.  Almost anywhere in the world, one could find bargain properties at 25%-50% of what they were going for 2 to 3 years ago.  Land was still the most secure investment, and prices were bound to rise again – all part of the natural 10-12 year cycle.  But they realized they already had extensive real estate portfolio.  They were in a quandary.

What to do?  As they brainstormed, one of them blurted out – we should consider supporting some sort of humanitarian cause.  Everyone looked at him strangely.  What would be the return on that?  Well, maybe not so tangible, and not so overt.  But it could make a dent in the seemingly hopeless efforts to improve and better develop the foundations of the society they lived in.

Why would we want to do that? The others asked at first, but somehow ended up also getting infected.  In a moment of weakness, they felt the pain of their country in their hearts.  As they shared some kind of trance, number and statistics danced in front of their eyes.  The per capita income of $1,256 in 2011-12, slightly up from $1,207 in 2010-11.  The ‘official’ 19% inflation rate in 2011.  The average life expectancy of 65 years.  The infant mortality rate of 59 per thousand births.  It brought a single, powerful, collective tear to their eyes.

Unable to stop themselves, they started talking about the NGOs that could benefit from the $700,000.  But which one?  They looked at Wikipedia and found over 500 listed.  They were overwhelmed and gave up when many on the list did not even have active links.  Their hearts were burdened even more.  (I know it is incredulous, but please stay with me).

A flash of light.  The Edhi foundation!  They could cover 70% of the cost of the additional Edhi homes for the destitute and orphans to be built over the next few years.  Or they could spend $500,000 and fully cover the cost of the additional rehab centers and ambulances the foundation needed.  Well, it was a good idea, but they argued that the Edhi foundation was too big and well known.  Their names would just be lost against Edhi’s.

Who else could they help?  They could donate the $700,000 to the SOS Children’s village to cover 70% of the cost of building a village of 15 families.  Or they could give it to Developments In Literacy, and provide education for 7000 children for a year.  They were on the site, ready to make a donation.  They just had to press enter.

That is when one of them brought up the crude, deragatory movie that what’s-his-name made in California.  We need to do something about that, he said.  We cannot let them get away with it.  They all agreed.  But what can we do?  They have insulted our prophet and our religion.  We must get satisfaction!  How about we use the $700,000 to put a bounty on the guy who made the movie.   What a great idea!  They all slapped each other on the backs.  Let’s do it.  It’s fool-proof!  We will be all over the newspapers, people won’t be able to stop talking about us (ironic, isn’t it?), we will never have to spend that money, and after all this is the best way to honor our religion, and to educate the world about who we are and what we stand for.  And certainly, there is no doubt that God will be pleased with this and will give us more rewards than we can count.

Right.  That is what God would want.


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