The other day I experienced three examples of “donativo”, basically  the concept of  take what you need, and give what you can. My friends and I encountered a woman who has gained some notierty along the Camino for offering passing pilgrims fresh, warm crepes. I was actually following her dog (trying to get a dog fix- missing my 🐶 🐶) around a corner when she appeared with a plate of crepes and offered them to us. I was feeling a little peckish at the time, and the offer was just what I needed, right when I needed it. Mere minutes before, we had meet 3 older French men on the road and they too partook in the love offering, a little taste of home, no doubt. That same afternoon, I was passing by an open doorway, and saw a table laden with snacks and drinks, fruit and nuts, again offered donativo. I stopped and was warmly greeted by a handsome group of man, women and two young girls enjoying a pasta meal, which they  offered to share. I declined, but noticed some art on the wall and they invited me in to take a look. Tucked away in a small nook was a sign that read, “Many small people, in many small places, doing many small things, can change the world”. My camera had died, so I couldn’t take a picture, but I mentioned it to the group. The older of the two girls helped me comit it to memory (took a couple of tries), and seemed proud to demonstrate her Spanish skills to her uncle, an Auzzie now living in Galicia, by repeating it in Spanish. They were in fact demonstrating the very concept of the words! The same day, I also stopped at a small stone church along the way to take a moment to pray. It was early morning up on a mountain, and the cloud cover gave the church and grave yard a haunted look. However, the gate was open, so I went in and told my friends to go on. The interior of the church was surprisingly warm, candles were lit, but no one was around. I spent some time praying, and then crying (seems to be a thing for me now- a daily cry- I think I have the “gift of tears”- my priest friend assures me that that’s ok, as long as I make sure I rehydrate afterwards!) As I turned to leave the church, I noticed a small table and was shocked to see, get ready for this, a $1,000,000 bill! I’m not joking. It was bluish and had the face of a bearded man. I should have taken a picture! The first thing that popped into my head was Mike Myer’s Dr. Evil character saying, “One million dollars, bah ha ha”. So this is the way I see it- either someone has donated a huge sum of money to that little chapel, or that money is not worth the paper it’s written on! If the later is the case, toilet paper is often in short supply along the Camino, so perhaps the next person to come along might just take what they need- donativo!

One thought on “Donativo

  1. Incredible tale of generosity. You are truly blessed. Where shall I send some toilet paper?
    Carry on smiling. Hugs


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