- 22/9/2009 <--Prev : Next-->
Its a big mental struggle.
What happened to our good kind Christian up-bringing ? Why are we sometimes irritated, often indifferent, and only occasionally do we feel compassion ?
I will always remember one of my very first friends to leave Zimbabwe, she went to the UK, and wrote to say how much happier she was now that she no longer had the overpowering "Social and Moral Guilt and Obligations".
All of the "Haves" in Zimbabwe, at some time or another, have those all encompassing social and moral feelings of guilt and obligation towards the "Have Nots".
Our beds are less warm when we think of those sleeping in freezing ditches, our stomachs are less comfortable when we see people digging through our own trash bins.... but if we are truly good people should we only feel it in our own country ?
When we see homeless folk in India, or the UK or the USA we somehow feel differently. They are not our responsibility, we are saddened by their plight but it does not affect us personally.
South Africa is different though, having spent the last two weeks in Johannesburg, I actually hate going into town. On every corner of every traffic light is a beggar, bearing a badly written sign explaining his/her circumstances. Shoulder to shoulder, surrounding the car are several people handing out leaflets, and close behind them, a dozen people selling coat hangers, flowers and bric -a-brac.
Its a nightmare, most people stoically ignore them, tune themselves out totally, but I know they are probably all Zimbabweans, desperate to make a living, and so I still have that big sticker on my forehead that says 'SUCKER"
I can walk into a book shop, quite my favourite place, browse slowly, indulgently, peacefully, absorbing the smell of the books and knowing that HeeHoo will probably have already purchased the one I want at any rate. Then I will feel a pair of eyes boring into me, and looking up, it is a beggar, using some pretext or other, trying to catch my attention.
I can go to a service station, not my favourite occupation, and also find someone begging, hanging around the car window while I am trying to deal with important things like, "is this a diesel or a petrol car" ?
In the supermarkets, who do the opportunists approach for small change to buy a loaf of bread ? Me of course.
Who sneaks in front of me at the check out and never has enough change for baby formula ? Well I will give you two guesses.
Who buys those useless coat hangers that break after the first use, who buys the bargain black trash bags that promise twenty in a pack, but are really only ten bags packed with newspaper ?
Get hold of the mirror Maggie and practice an ugly scowl instead of sweet little old lady look !!
Take that "SUCKER" sticker off your forehead and try and try to become totally indifferent to one's fellow man ?
"I am only one, but still I am one. I can not do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I can not do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do." Helen Keller