Here in Kenya we have plenty of opportunity to help people out. There are the beggars, the disabled sitting in wheelchairs and then those selling goods at the side of the road.
There are a couple of people who have stuck out here.
One of them is a man in a wheelchair who had his legs amputated from the knees down. He sits each day at the corner by a small shopping centre. He has children (we see them from time to time) and one of the world’s biggest smiles. He’s polite and doesn’t beg for cash but you can tell he’s in need.
Unfortunately there’s no disability support pension here for people like this man. They are totally reliant on having their families support them. Every now and then when we go past his spot we drop in 100 shillings, worth about $1. More than that though, we stop for a chat and ask him how he and is family is. It gives him respect that he is of value and not simply because he needs money.
A couple of weeks ago I met the most wonderful lady. Each day she stands by the road we take to work. She is there early in the morning till it starts to get dark. She has a baby strapped to her back. She holds out her right hand for the entire time, in it she has a bag of blue sweets for sale. I don’t know how much she sells them for but probably only for a shilling or two. I don’t know this lady’s name but I really admire her.
On either side of her stand men selling DVD’s, posters, flowers and the matatus (vans moving masses of people) and buses throwing out diesel fumes.
I admire her because she’s not waiting for her situation to change, she is changing her situation, one shilling at a time.
I am more than happy once a week to drop 100 shillings into her hand. I usually ask for a couple of sweets so it doesn’t look like I do it out of pity. No, I do it in admiration.
You might say that it’s only the odd dollar, what difference can it make? But to these 2 people it means they can buy some flour and make ugali that night. It means that they have something to put towards their rent. Or it may mean they can afford to buy one jerry can of water.
Even though our personal support level is short by about $1,000 per month, I’m not going to let it stop me being generous. These two people inspire me to keep going even when it all seems a bit much.
My next step is to get to know their names.
Tell me about someone who has inspired you lately.