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Would you like to visit the most generous country on Earth?

Are you a giving person? Want to experience a place where giving is an integral stitch in the fabric of life? If so, then visit Indonesia!

Despite its gross domestic product per capita ranking 127th in the world — and the fact that 1 in 10 people there still lived below the poverty line as of 2017 — the country has earned a reputation for giving. In fact, according to the 2018 World Giving Index, Indonesia is the most generous country in the world.

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Photo by @nowbalimag

With 76 volcanos and approximately one natural disaster per month it is no surprise that the citizens of Indonesia are extraordinary givers, since helping thy neighbor can be a matter of life or death.

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And then, there are the generous smiles

While its one thing to read about the generosity of the Indonesian people, its quite another to experience it firsthand. For over 1/2 a year we had a Balinese work crew camped at our building site. They worked incredibly hard and didn’t ask for anything in return. Even so, my wife and I would treat them to occasional snacks.

We decided that at the end of phase one, after all of the concrete and steel pilings were deep into the ground (42 of them) and a slab concrete floor was poured, we would take the crew to the beach and treat them to whatever food and drinks they wanted from the vendor carts.

The heartwarming moment for me was when they told me to stop spending money on them. At that point I had spent about 300,000 rupiah ($21 USD) on bakso (meatball and noodle soup), grilled corn, martabak (veggie mini-pancakes), drinks, etc. The crew knew I wouldn’t say no if they kept eating and drinking. But they didn’t want to overdo it.

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Over time I became humbled by the honest and kind nature of these hard working people. I‘ve offered them tips $ for doing work that seemed above and beyond their normal responsibilities. Yet time and time again they would refuse with a smile and either wave their hands with a no sign or say, in English, “Don’t worry”. They receive their pay from the foreman, who gets his pay from my builder, and so they know they will be taken care of. And while the pay standard is remarkably low by Western standards, the workers accept their fate and get on with life in an inspiring way. Perhaps they feel luckier than other Indonesians who don’t even have jobs. But more likely they have resolved themselves to keep their needs to a minimum and enjoy each day in whatever way they can. And the reality is, they’re a happy people!

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