Helping one person might not change the world but it could change the world for one person. As humans, we are constantly battling our own demons and struggles, we do not have any idea what others are going through. Hence, we should make it an aim to help other people in any way we can. We should aim to be kinder, more compassionate, and more helpful to others.
John Henry Chestnut is a firm believer in these statements. He believes that if he has the capability to help an individual, he has the duty to do so. John was born in Pittsburgh, United States, and spent most of his childhood and adolescence there. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. While he was employed in the Marines, he developed a love and drive to help people who were in need. He is currently burning the midnight oil in Djibouti and working against COVID-19. He is putting his heart and soul into reducing the impact and spread of the deadly virus. John is teaching the locals there the importance of social distancing and how it reduces the spread of the fatal virus. He is also emphasizing the need for good hygiene and its strong link with the protection from the virus. He is also involved in disinfecting areas to further reduce the risk of the virus. It is notable to observe that he is willing to put himself at risk of catching a virus just to save other people’s lives. John is blessed with three sons. John has taken it as his responsibility to teach the importance of kindness that he learned when he was in Marines. He along with his sons has gone to work too many third-world countries such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Rwanda to get themselves involved in charitable and social work. Most of his work revolves around spending time in Africa, to be more specific, East Africa. With that being said, he also spends a lot of his time in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Due to the unique and exceptional line of John’s work, he has many interesting and intriguing stories to tell. One of the most notable is when his kindness was repaid in the most unexpected way. On a hot summer day in Djibouti, while driving down the roads, he noticed a nomad standing in the middle of the desert. Due to the heat, John offered him water. However, there was somewhat of a language barrier between the two men as John could only speak basic Somali while the nomad could only speak basic English. The Nomad revealed that he wanted to get to Tew’o which would be a 2 hour drive or a 2 day walk by foot. To help the man in the high temperature, John offered him a ride. Initially, the nomad was unwilling as he did not want to be an inconvenience to John, but finally caved in. During the ride, the nomad expressed his thankfulness and gratitude towards John and let him know that the nomad owed him. John clarified that he was doing this out of the goodness of his heart and he did not expect anything in return. Three weeks after this incident, John hears a knocking on his door. What he saw would bring wells of tears in his eyes: he saw the nomad who had brought 10 goats as gift to John. A lot of nomads in Africa consider goats as a very precious and valuable asset due to its skin, meat and milk. This action showed how full of gratitude the nomad was. John embraced the nomad in a hug and assured that he did not need the goats. Due to the heat, John went inside to pour him a glass of water, but the nomad had swiftly left. John ended up donating the goats to family who were in need of them. However, he kept one of the goats as a pet to reminisce about the nomad.
John does humanitarian work because he can bring in to other people’s life such as the nomad. His motto aligns with the teachings of Confucius. As Confucius said “Treat others the way you want to be treated”. John wants people to love and respect others as they want to be loved and respected. With this teaching he hopes the world can be a better place for everyone.
John is active on Instagram, he uses this platform to let people have a glimpse of his day to day life. He refrains from posting about the work he does on the platform, as the work can be very sensitive and delicate. With that being said, he encourages people to follow United Nations on Instagram at @refugees to follow their work. John shows us how not all charity has to be in the form of monetary donations, it can be general kindness too.