Do not turn a blind eye

Last Friday, I did something so unexpected that it made me cry. As I was driving along the highway, my eyes rested on two men approaching the main road from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH). One was carrying the other on his back and he struggled to cover a very short distance into the main road to the bus stage. I don’t know why I looked in their direction, but I did and was moved. Initially, I said, well, it’s one of those happenings that do not concern me. But brushing them from my mind proved impossible and I told my youngest son seated next to me that we had to turn back. He did not understand what I meant until I got to the duo just as they got to a foot path.

I offered to drop them. As soon as they entered the car, the guardian choked on his own words as he broke down in tears. He only managed to say madam…I asked him not to cry as tears swelled up in my eyes too. His sobs were still audible amid the drive and I gave him a while before attempting to converse. He and his sick brother were beyond words as they dropped off at their destination which would have taken them forever had they been left to trek. Even a minibus ride would not have done justice because of the distances between this and that stage.

My son then reminded me of another gesture we extended months earlier. A man lay on the streets gasping for air. People almost tripped from their stares. He was having an asthmatic attack while baking in the summer heat. His story is long, but we bought him water, soft drink and a meal before sending off on his way. A life was saved, I suppose.

My point is not to brag about what we did in both instances. I am simply wondering about what happened to humanity. When does it become our problem? Is it right to simply go about our business or reach out and help. I know and understand that humanity has failed us one way or the other. Almost every day, we encounter fraudsters with endless stories of how starved they are or those asking for transport back to the village. Their stories are similar as they claim to have come into town looking for a relation who has since moved. They have lied for a long time that they overlook the fact that they meet same people over and over to discredit their stories. Who then can blame anyone for deciding not to help? I would not.

However, I believe the heart always speaks out to us in every situation. There are those rare moments when one feels compelled to help even at the slightest nag to ignore. I believe it is the time to act and save humanity. Lives can be saved by simple acts of kindness we can do without feeling a pinch.  I am not asking anyone to be Mother Theresa and make everyone’s problem our problem. It is not even possible. But that act of kindness within our reach goes a long way to make a difference in the lives of those we reach out. Who knows just when we may find ourselves in similar predicaments?

Let’s make a difference in this year. Help does not have to be sophisticated. It can be offering a drink of water or a simple pat on the back for encouragement. Think about it. Happy New Year. n

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