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The human shape of kindness

Atualizado: 26 de Dez de 2017

Travelling is not only about breath-taking beaches, amazing trekking paths, being dazzled by new cultures, meeting new people. People, faces and smiles like no other you will ever meet and experiences everyday something new that arise from facing the unknown.

People have a tendency to go on and on about how easy it is to travel, nevertheless besides nice pictures and fancy stories there are always hard times.

Travelling is also waiting long hours, missing trains, sleeping in uncomfortable conditions and feeling fear in the most common situations. And this is if everything goes well and according to plan.


If you are lucky enough, you will have the right people to ease in difficult moments. I had.


In August 2017 three Buddhist Monks in Rome, visiting the Vatican, called Sara’s attention.

After Sara warned me I grab my camera to record the moment. I mean, it is not every day that you see Buddhist Monks in their orange typical dresses in front of Saint Peters Basel.

I rushed, to look for a nice photo angle but the monks were already on their way back. Two of them passed by me as soon as I set the camera and the third one stopped by my side to take one last photo of the most prestigious symbol of Christianity.

At the time I was quite disappointed for having lost the moment. However, as I had already the camera settled, I decided to take some more photos of the Vatican. In that precise moment, the Monk asked me if I could capture his moment with the Basel on his back as the flash was not working on his camera (an iPad by the way).

Surprised I seized the moment and did the best that I could.



While changing contacts he offered me his contact card and while glimpsing at it, I noticed he was from Sri Lanka.

Hasten by the fact that he would join his fellow colleagues I decided to pitch him about our Asian trip and he ended offering help when we would be there.

We were far from forecasting what was yet to come.


Nonetheless, when you think you already have all the answers, life ensures to change the question.


On the day we arrived in Colombo, I started to feel some pain, which forced me to go to the Hospital.

We warned our new friend about the situation but he insisted that he would pick us up at Colombo train station and would help us dealing with the problem.

This was the first glimpse of the human form of kindness.

We did not know what to expect, but in less than 3 hours we had visited 2 private hospitals, saw 4 doctors and had an unanimous diagnostic. I had to be hospitalised immediately and have a small surgery still in that night.



The way our newest friend allowed this to happen with simple phone calls was astonishing and even in a complex situation, where I had to have surgery in a country that I did not know or had any backup plan, me and Sara felt somehow safe. This person that I meet for only 10 minutes in Rome, more than 3 months ago, embraced and treated us as his own.


He stayed with us until I went to surgery and came back on the following day to check on me.

During our last remaining days in Sri Lanka, he grant us his 3-bedroom house just for ourselves, allowed us the best conditions to rest and recover, showed us the Sri Lanka I was able to see having in mind my recovery process and never, for once, complained about all the inconvenient we caused him. He made us laugh constantly in difficult times and ensured everything was in the best possible way.

He made all of this, without asking for anything in return and did not allow us to pay a penny while we were with him.


I do not know if goodness and kindness do have a human form, but if they have, we found it in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In a man who devotes his life to be in the servant of others in any form or shape he sees fit.

We were lucky that our lives crossed on that sunny day of August in Rome. It is a debt we can never repay.


Traveling is also about the unforeseen events, the pitfalls and if you are lucky enough you will be surrounded by the right people that will ensure you will be able to continue.

I was.


Even without knowing, that man dressed in orange allowed us to continue to dream and live this travel adventure of ours: to travel wildly and locally. Not only to be amazed by amazing places, but mostly to become a different human being with the touch of others whose cultures are so different from ours and our materialist and career-oriented lifestyle.

With him we learned in a matter of days far more than we could have learned during a month working. To do rightness for others just because, one may not change the whole world. But can just change somebody’s world. He certainly changed mine.


Thank you, my friend, for everything you have done for me.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Sara, who stood by my side in this difficult time, as she has been standing and taking care of me during the past years.


When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

Author: Unknown Monk 1100 A.D


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