The art of giving

It’s early in the morning and the day is announcing itself with a little breeze, an already bright sun and a deep blue sky. We had arrived in Mullumbimby and were pleasantly welcomed by the atmosphere of the place. You take a walk through this little town for some groceries and it takes you over an hour. Not because of the distance you have to travel, the traffic or difficulty in finding parking. Because everyone talks to one another. The shop owners are interested in you and your story and the locals are a deeply caring and conscious group of people.

It’s what gives this wonderful town its heart, and it beats strong and loud.

One particular morning in Mullum when the campsite was slowly waking up, I take Nuala for a little stroll before breakfast down to the far end of the camping. There are no tents or caravans on this side, only a line of old and strong eucalyptus trees wisely guarding this piece of land, providing shade and an incredible scent.

On the other side of the fence that runs along side the road, I notice a guy hitch hiking – making his way to work. I wave, and he responds. I walk in his direction and when we are close enough to hear each other he shouts out “Do you like mangoes?”

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Taken by surprise and not fully awake yet, I reply “Sure man, I love them”. Quickly he digs into his backpack pulling out two mangoes freshly picked from his tree. “Wait a day or two for them to ripen, and they are gonna be perfect” he says passing me the fruits through the fence. My instantaneous response was  “I’m really sorry, but I don’t have any money with me”.

Franko, as it turned out to be his name, looks at me in a peculiar way, almost as if my thinking about money took away the honesty and beauty of his gesture in a single second. “Naah, there’s no need for money, just enjoy. I’ve gotta run now” he says looking at a car coming his way. “I gotta get a lift from that car. Have a good day!”

I stay there waving him goodbye and looking at him jumping into the car, realising that his gift goes way beyond the two juicy fruits. His friendly gesture literally opened up my day, making me feel so welcome and willing to give back to others. We don’t give to receive, we give out of kindness and compassion and that is what makes the smallest of gestures so meaningful.

Written by Lorenzo Colombo