To live a noble life – this has been George Olivar’s ambition. As he pursued this goal he has experienced many highs and recent lows on a journey that took him around the world, but the future is finally looking bright again.
George, 68, was born and raised in Mexico. George started working on his grandpa’s farm when he was eight years old and it was here that he saw first-hand what a noble life looks like. His grandpa was his role model, teaching George the values of working hard, caring for others and treating everyone with dignity.
After completing an accounting degree, George worked for ten years. However, when the company computerized their accounting system, George lost his job. Unable to find another job in Mexico, George immigrated to the United States. He moved to Texas where he studied computer programming and English. To provide for himself, George worked at several jobs at the same time, a pattern that would continue for the rest of his life.
George was also active in his church, leading Bible studies and driving the van to pick people up. “I feel happy when I help people,” says George. After many years, George felt called to serve the church, so he attended seminary, earned an Associate in Divinity degree and worked at several Baptist churches. As his faith grew he was also drawn to Buddhism.
To pursue this interest, George studied Buddhism in England and he was ordained as a Buddhist monk in Burma. For ten years he traveled around the world helping to run Buddhist monasteries. George enjoyed this time of his life as he combined his desire to work hard with his passion for serving others. George was following in his grandpa’s footsteps and becoming a noble human being.
In 2004 George’s mother became ill, so he returned to Mexico City to care for her. He took care of her for the next ten years. Life was a struggle and money was tight, so in 2014 he returned to the United States so he could start receiving his social security check. He sends half of his money to his mother in Mexico, but this means he doesn’t have enough to live on. George now lives at the CCNV shelter.
George came to Miriam’s Kitchen for help getting his ID and for the delicious meals. Case managers provided George with clothing, helped him to get a phone and created a resume for him. After months of searching, George recently got a part-time job at the National Association for the Hispanic Elderly. He’s thrilled to be working in the office, yet he knows that he will need another part-time job in order to make ends meet. He’s now looking into a course on 3D printing and hopes that soon he will have enough money to get a home of his own. The journey continues, but George’s goal remains the same – to live a noble life and to be healthy and happy.