Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Karma! ...

I'm a big believer in karma of all kinds - general, interpersonal and, most of all, parking karma. I always leave my meters with at least 10 minutes on them, so when I need to find a spot and I have no quarters, I will find a meter with time on it. It nearly always works out. I also believe that I am paid back in kind when I do something sneaky or bad. Inevitably, something equally sneaky or annoying happens to me shortly thereafter. I'm left with nothing to do but shake my fist at the universe. 

That's why I was particularly pleased to find a story in the Times Online in the UK about Estonia's Bank of Happiness. People talk about the implied karma bank where you doing a good deed for someone will come back to aid you later when you are in need of help. This bank literally acts on the premise, with a website set up to connect Estonians with fellow citizens in possession of skills needed. There are even non-monetary bank notes to exchange after, say a woman babysits for a family. The idea is not to necessarily have directly reciprocating acts; more that someone does something for someone else and knows someday someone will do something for them. 

RGJ.com reports on the "Good News Guy." Robert Mendeno is a retired Nevadan who makes musical and message tapes and CDs for soldiers overseas out of his own pocket, often including the names and messages of individual soldiers' families. Mendeno, a former Army medic, began this project simply because he knew how lonely a soldier's life can be when deployed far from home. 

There's been another report of an anonymous Recession Angel. The New York Daily News tells the story of 14 colleges around the country, run by women, who have received mysterious $5 million grants with the only stipulations being the college makes no attempt to find the benefactor and that $4 million be used for scholarships. The other $1 million is to be used at the president's discretion. 

Finally, when talking about earning good karma, a 24 year-old Bath Spa University student really takes the cake. Amy Lambert worked for eight weeks as a volunteer at a Tanzanian orphanage. According to Britain's Daily Telegraph, she was so appalled at the conditions in which the children lived, she raised 30,000 British pounds and bought it. Lambert plans to finish her degree and then return to Tanzania to run the orphanage full-time. She plans to tear down the existing building and add a school room for the children, most of whom have lost at least one parent to AIDS. 

(Photo credit: goodkarmafactory.com)

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