What Does It Take To Be Happy?

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As promised I am referencing a challenge that Tiny Buddha put out to answer ten questions (in 140 characters or less) that deal with some of the hardest questions in life. Today’s question: Number 2 – What does it take to be happy? My answer, “To be happy you have to be content with who you are and what you are doing…right here…right now.” Sounds simple enough, but following through is something else. And then I got involved with the Roatan Hospital Concert Committee…

The race was on to have everything ready for the Roatan Hospital Benefit Concert on August 26. Almost three months ago the call went out for volunteers to help organize and set-up for a fund-raiser for the only public hospital on Roatan. At the first few meetings the plan was laid out, the atmosphere enthusiastic yet calm – we had lots of time. I went to the Roatan Hospital to take some pictures, to give people a feel for how desperately the hospital needed community support.

I had been there a few times before and had seen first-hand the conditions, so I wasn’t surprised by what I photographed…but I was still amazed at what the health care professionals had to work with to care for the people of Roatan. And I am always in awe of what they manage to achieve.

It wasn’t too busy on the day I walked around with my camera. There were a few people waiting to be seen. They lined the hallways, sitting with children on laps. A few people in the emergency area were having their medical needs tended to.

I shot photos of paint peeled off walls and chipped from baby cribs in pediatrics; mouldy ceilings and stacks of supplies crammed in every available space. I didn’t want to intrude on people’s privacy so avoided taking pictures of them. But one new mom did graciously allow me to snap a picture of her newborn son.

The Roatan Hospital Concert date that seemed so far away was suddenly only a week away. The notes I had scribbled down of things to do had turned into pages and the challenge was on to get it all done in time. (Before I go any further I want to note that I was only one of the many committee members and volunteers who were giving their all to bring this together. We were a team with a common goal.)

Each morning I woke, my day’s plan in hand, check emails, revise the day’s schedule, make phone calls, receive phone calls, and head out. I drove into neighbourhoods that I didn’t know existed and had the pleasure of meeting people. A whirlwind of activity that started at 7 AM each morning and didn’t end before 11 PM each night.

A few days before the big event I had to make a stop at the hospital to pick something up for the concert and I was blown away by what I saw. The halls were jammed with people waiting patiently to be seen. In the emergency area I saw people being treated for every injury imaginable by dedicated health care professionals who did the best they could with less than adequate supplies. They were calm and compassionate as they struggled to meet everyone’s needs. I would be told that this was a typical day at Roatan Hospital. What I had witnessed on the day I came to take the pictures was not.

That evening I lay in bed, trying to convince tomorrows list of things to do to stop swirling around in my brain and let me go to sleep. And while my brain wouldn’t cooperate—it has a mind of its own don’t you know – I was worried I wouldn’t get everything done in time. I was frustrated by having to put off other things I wanted to do. I was heartbroken by what I had seen at the Roatan Hospital that day.

But I realized something else – I was genuinely HAPPY. I was content, with who I was and what I was doing, right then! If I was allowed more than 140 characters for the Tiny Buddha Wisdom Book challenge I would add, “Your world being in perfect order has nothing to do with being happy.”

Thank you everyone for your support, assistance, donations, sponsorship, and for attending the Roatan Hospital Concert! Let’s do it again next year!

Be sure to check out Roatan Hospital Concert for all the pictures of the event, and coming soon a detailed update of the difference the concert has made for helping the hospital care for the people of Roatan.

Genny Ross-Barons
Originally from Ontario, Canada, Genny Ross-Barons moved to Roatan, Honduras in 2007 where she shares a cabana with her husband and island dog Mona in Sandy Bay, Roatan.

She spends her day-to-day life and 'positive initiatives' on Roatan, sharing untold stories through her blog 'Life & Writing, on Roatan'
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