Start at Home

    I am amazed by the human spirit: its ability to give, and love, and share amidst its own problems and obstacles. The best thing about living in a small community is being able to know nearly everything. News travels fast, and when it’s about a beloved member of the community, help comes in droves.

    This weekend I spent a fair amount of time observing, enjoying the sights and sounds of a network of friends coming together for a good cause (ok fine, and imbibing for a good cause). And as the world is well aware, there is a country that is in dire need of our help. People have banded the world over to make sure that help gets there, and while images make us appreciate what we have, there is that indomitable human spirit that keeps giving and giving, almost as atonement for the fact that we have, when so many millions do not – but all through generosity and heart.

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    Despite the few who do not partake in the efforts, the majority of those who come out forget their differences and put aside their opinions. That is the island which so many know and love. That is home. The sound of a child’s excitement at being able to help, giving up his allowance, working hard, to “Help Haiti” is enough to confirm that we’re not the Sodom and Gomorrah we’ve been branded as.

    Why yes, that is the name handed to us – isn’t that nice? Some people unfortunately fit the bill, but you know, we love them anyway.

    Listening to perfect strangers dropping in because a network of friends had somehow mentioned in passing that there was a good cause to attend and help at, further assured that the good people are out there. Where else can you turn to anyone, and know that help is available, if you only ask? In a place that many consider the bread and butter of the country, there is any number of people who at one point or another require help.

    One thing I would like to see, is the same effort and energy be put towards helping those at home as well – long after the charity drives are over, and the great issues at hand are taken care of – it would be nice to focus at home. We have some of the most influential people living on the island, where a street vendor is often a child, who probably does not eat square meals, and who has to balance on rotten wood planks to make his way home in the swamps. The news has pointed out places where “London Bridges” are the means of getting home. What the news catches is the outside of home.

    What about inside the home? Are our children eating properly – at least regularly? When a child claims that an orange and a bottle of juice, plus twenty five cents is lunch, you have to wonder who the parents are, what they do, and whether they themselves need help. I’ve often heard animal lovers and activists speak up for the abused and neglected animals of the island. “They have no choice,” they say; “they didn’t ask to be brought into the world.” What about the kids who didn’t choose to be here either? We need to start asking the same about our children. The very same animal activists have done an admirable job – and at the risk of sounding naïve, perhaps following their footsteps will lead us to a solution for our children as well.

    Even if we only take care of one, we are moving in the right direction. And we need to stop expecting someone else to take care of our problems. Charity begins at home, and home is calling out.           

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