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The Facebook Samaritan

The Facebook Samaritan
February 07
10:51 2020

The Facebook Samaritan

Social media has become a launchpad where people take swipes at each other. Others use it for mere entertainment or to share a joke, normally again at the expense of someone else. But while it is often times too easy to fall to that temptation, one man has chosen to use the Facebook platform to promote positivity, to share tidbits about Belizean history and events, and to inspire people by highlighting the daily struggles of others to spread hope. He chooses to use the page strictly to spread positive energy, to recognize success, and to seek help for those who genuinely need it.

Albert Magdaleno manages his page under the name Ladyvillenews Highlights. A quick browse through his profile does not even reveal much about the man, except that he is a postman, that he attended Anglican Cathedral College, that he is married, and a listing of his cell number which people can call to have him promote their small business or showcase their plight. He makes posts also under subtitles such as “Blast from the Past”, “Laughter is the Best Medicine” and “Be Your Own Boss.” He told us that he decided to showcase good and to promote an air of cheerfulness and hope after his own observations of other people’s posts. Too many people were using Facebook to spew negativity and to attack others.

“A deep impression came over me to create a page that will push and promote only the positive things by ordinary people in our community and this will encourage younger people and give them hope that anything is possible if you truly want it,” he shared with us. “We have plenty of good inside our hearts, but far too many times our minor mistakes and slipups are the only things people focus on.”

Magdaleno explained that he looks for Belizeans who are struggling to get their small businesses off the ground and he does mini-features on his page, using pictures and sometimes even video recordings of them doing what they do. He also looks for outstanding Belizeans, no matter their age, who try to make a positive difference in their own circle or in the wider community. “I look for persons whom I feel are an inspiration to me and can become an inspiration to many other Belizeans,” he told us.

But while his page attracts a lot of traffic because his frequent posts offer something different, Magdaleno also has a full-time professional job. He has been the postman for Ladyville and Lord’s Bank for the past 14 years and that is partly what led him to open a Facebook page that highlights good. It is in going to people’s homes to deliver their mail that he has been privy to their way of life and their situation. “I have heard and listened to so many stories of struggles and triumphs and very inspiring stories of rags to riches,” he said. “I realized that living immediately among us were persons who had overcome some tremendous hardships and have climbed the ladder of success, despite their very poor humble beginnings.”

He has highlighted small entrepreneurs, dog rescuers, elderly people who still work to sustain themselves, people in need, farmers who sell their produce in his community, even a young Creole descent father who ventured out into an unconventional tacos sale business, and others who have stuck to the straight and narrow for their families. And he has also walked the walk along with many of the people he features, helping them personally from his own pocket as well and never making it public knowledge. We know from pictures that others took while he was helping people, but that never made it on his page.

Doing what he does keeps him motivated, he told us, because he hears from others who tell him that someone’s story was an inspiration to them, or gave them hope to not only continue, but to consider options they weren’t thinking of. And above it all, he places his faith in Jehovah who uses him as a tool to do this. “I have seen total strangers help out other strangers through this page and I am just the person who brings all the pieces together resulting in a needy person being blessed.”

Some of the posts require research too, particularly the historical ones. Magdaleno says he frequents the library service where he gathers the information and pictures to share on Facebook. This also motivates some people to inbox him to share with him pictures and information that they have on a particular era or event in Belize’s history. He recalled a post that triggered healthy comments. “One time, I made a post on the forest cutters of Belize who went to England and Scotland and it sparked a heated discussion about a guy who abandoned his wife and started a new family in Scotland.”

Magdaleno spent a part of his life in the US, where one traffic check only one week before he was scheduled to return home caught him violating a series of traffic laws that could have landed him behind bars for years. But prayer worked for him, he said, and he decided from that point that he would come home to make a positive difference in society.

“I was honest to the Police Officer and he told me I had broken all the rules of driving but that he would give me an opportunity to get them fixed. I did not get a ticket. He made a list of all the stuff I needed to do – like get insurance, register the car, get my license and license plates, after which he said ‘I will now stop the traffic’ – it was four-lane traffic – ‘so you can get back into the flow of traffic,’ and he said ‘drive safely home.’ I got back in traffic and drove home, grateful to God.

Magdaleno hopes that in his very small, unique way, he can be an example for others who take to social media to deplore and vilify fellow humans. “Life’s too short to discharge negative vibes and energy,” he reminded.

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