By George Kimando
An unauthenticated photo in two parts last week landed on my desk. You may have seen it circulate on social media. But that’s beside the point. It’s the message that it carried that hit me to the core.
In the first part, a malnourished girl child was being fed with some unidentified food by an unidentified benefactor.
She looked like she had cheated famine induced death.
In the second bit, a beautiful girl in a white cap and flowing hair is seen giving some unidentified service to someone, or some people.
A headline inscription read, “Same Person, Different Environments”.
And then a caption followed:
“This malnourished Somali girl in Africa was adopted by a couple and raised in the U.S.A. She is now a pre-medical student of Biology aspiring to become a medical doctor in the U.S.A. Some judged her, called her ‘accursed’, possessed, unlucky, a witch; some sympathised, called for national days of prayers, wrote 3-page posts about her; only one couple did what was right: they acted and here she is now. LOVE is what you do towards people and not what you say. Be Inspired’.
I wasn’t just inspired. I was challenged. Not just challenged, but extremely challenged. And that’s the challenge i want to cascade to you today.
This story reminded me of the parable of The Good Samaritan.
This is about a traveler (implicitly understood to be Jewish) who is robbed, stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead alongside the road. First a Jewish priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man.
Finally, a Samaritan happens upon the traveler. Although Samaritans and Jews despised each other, the Samaritan helps the injured man. Jesus is described as telling the parable in response to the question from a lawyer, “And who is my neighbor?”
The conclusion is that the neighbor figure in the parable is the one who shows mercy to the injured fellow man. That is, the Samaritan.
Just like the American couple in the story above.
The malnourished girl had rich Africans ‘neighbours’, some right inside her country, but who never took note of her plight.
Perhaps they would have sent a few thousands of their currency to cater for her disposal had she died, and pontificate about the dire consequences of famine in their country in their condolence messages while castigating the government.
I know we can neither carry the whole world on our shoulders, nor solve every challenge we come across. But how many times do we gloss over brothers and sisters in life challenges with that ‘don’t worry, will pray for you’ line?
We don’t have to adopt every orphan in a children home or every street child (i appreciate we have our own challenges too and can only do so much), but what about that little help we can afford to a needy soul that would turn their lives around?
I remember the narration by former USA President Barrack Obama in his book “Dreams From My Father’ (i think it could have been more aptly titled ‘Dreams From My FATHERS’) about his step father taking him through the motions of how he can’t solve every persons problems. And true, he couldn’t do it even when he was the President of the most powerful nation on earth.
Later after retiring from the White House, he delivered a reverberating speech during the memorial of former South Africa’s President, Nelson Mandela, on doing the right thing when you can to alleviate human suffering.
In that speech, he was specific about the insane accumulation of wealth by African leaders while their very subjects were suffering abject poverty. Selfishness, he said, was at the core of human suffering.
I couldn’t agree more.
It may not be such high magnitude help. But what of spearheading a social welfare programme in your village that would ensure a bright child getting quality education? Or a similar one to give water to the women in that village that would add an extra six hours in their day that they spend seeking water for domestic use?
It could even be those few thousands you would perhaps spend in a single outing with your buddies directed to a college graduate seeking to kick start his life in the Jua Kali sector with a brilliant idea.
That sibling, relative or someone you know struggling to get by in life with a job connection? Or perhaps just a listening ear to a soul in need of just being listened to?
Am reminded of a friend i attend Church with (he may be reading this – big bless up bro!) who saw a friend online request me for some subsistence during the covid downturn (he was that desperate!). He didn’t even know the guy and i didn’t even ask him, but he sent some cash to assist that needy person. I was truly humbled. He came to mind when i saw the case above.
What am i saying in so many words?
Like Barrack Obama, we may not solve every person’s problem we come across, but surely can do something in our small way in our small worlds. Not much, granted, but just enough to restore faith in humanity.
Have a Good Samaritan Sunday, and a great week ahead.