“IT DOESN’T KILL TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH”

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT

By Catherine Patience Jimu

“Blessed is the hand that giveth than the one that taketh”

It was a bright sunny but windy morning and I was in a jovial mood swaggering along the Kamuzu Procession road. For those of you who are familiar with Lilongwe, you should be able to know the road.

I must say I was not that in a hurry so I had all the time in the world. Music from my headsets were blaring. So loud was it that I could hardly hear hooters from the nearby vehicles. It was none of my business after all.

As I was approaching Lilongwe Hotel, there popped some shabby urchin (assuming they’ve ever been otherwise anyway) who was heading in the opposite direction. I could read by the movement from his lips that he was calling out for me; obviously for some bail out. Being one of those who hates, rather hated such kind of ‘noble’ calls, I pressed the loud volume button so as to annihilate the boy’s voice further and further away from my eardrum.

I kept on ignoring the kid. As a sign of snubbing the kid further, I transferred my attention to my mobile handset, purportedly to select which song to listen to, from my playlist. No sooner had I transferred my eyes than my feet tripped…by the time I was back to my senses, my hand was in the hands of some not-so-good-looking young man. My clothes, as expected, were brown; confirming that the dreaded Lilongwe-dust had had its fair share of covering my body. I had fell along the sidewalks.

Minus the usual beeping and screeching of nearby vehicles, all I could hear were jeers from the usual suspects; street vendors. So embarrassing was also the sad sight of who was picking me up; that very same boy I had been ignoring. What a shame!!! .

Out of all the passerby, it was that very same boy I had successfully ignored that later proved to be the corner stone. Never in my 20 plus years have I ever been so embarrassed. How I wished I could dig a hole and hid myself there. I was literary wet with shame!

As I was doing away with the dust that had found comfort unto my designer clothes, I noted some liquid oozing out of my left elbow. Blood.

Now, the boy, whom I later came to identify as Gabriel tore part of his filthy ragged shirt and bandaged the opening on my arm. The bandage, the very same cloth that had evoked disgust in my sight had managed to stop further blood from oozing out.

I swallowed my pride and reached out into my Gucci purse that I purchased from Tunduma, in Tanzania, and fished out a K500 note.

Against all odds, the boy snubbed the gesture whilst pointing past where I was. When my gaze followed Gabriel’s forefinger, I was directed to an army of some boys similar or in worse conditions than him.

That got me puzzled. What the heck in the world was he after me in the first place? Wasn’t it for the very same bank note he was refusing?  

I was so confused.

Later on, he opened his mouth and emptied his chest. His was not an impromptu gratification; his was something way bigger. All he had ever wanted was to have somebody who could attend to his education. Someone who could lay a helping hand. Somebody who could offer him a comfortable place to lay his ribs on. I lost my words. My heartbeat literary stopped for some seconds.

Guilty was written all over my face. I felt like the devil was all over me.

…….

Dear reader, some situations in life give us opportunities to be blessed.  There are many children out there who wish for a better life but lack such openings. They are in need of capable men and women who could just offer some minute helping hand and make a difference in the lives of such kids.

Have we ever thought what Malawi we could make if we can take our time and assist those who in dire need? Look into your wardrobes and see the cloths you don’t wear anymore. What is your plan? Can’t you give them to the less privileged within your locales?

Let us reach out and touch those people who do not have the privilege of a better place to stay, a decent meal, and what have you. Let’s make a difference to wherever we’re staying. We don’t need to be waiting for the government or some Non-Governmental organizations from across the borders to bail out the said less privileged. Let’s learn to be supportive to our communities by giving out the little we have.

Let’s extend our hands and bail those in need. It begins with you, and me!

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