| In the call for humanitarian service and the search for community service, I find it necessary to put into writing the much applauded act of alms-giving. I am of the opinion that alms-giving is a godly and moral attitude that should be upheld when there is no means to reason out better measures to improve the status of the recipient. It is important to note that I am not a picture perfect person (PPP). I am not excusing but humbly lamenting.
Necessity calls for us to reason together and not to criticize so that we may find a much better means of assisting these unprivileged ones .My opinion here is not critical, neither is it celebratory. I reason that there are better measures that could be sampled to give unprivileged individuals (including the mentally disabled, physically handicapped, orphans, destitute etc) a worthwhile life. This is my bid for philanthrophy.
I believe that the best way to make good judgments lies in practicality. With this the answers are bound to be honest. Hence I ask you what you would like to be done for you if faced with any unpleasant situation that puts you in the category of the unprivileged. I reiterate by asking what measures of assistance you would like to be rendered unto you.
Sometimes I wonder if we ever bother with the dreadful fact that even after the affairs of the day (begging and receiving alms), the same individuals return back the following day to practicing the same ‘profession’. Is it right to let them go on like this without our seeking better measures to give them a life worth living? I believe we can’t rely on the government to solve all our societal problems given that the three branches of government are almost constantly pulling one another to court. I also believe that if we have the will to help these ones with our available resources (mental and material), then it is certain that we will make headway.
I recently walked by a young crippled lady who is also the mother of a little boy. I watched other people pass her by, and continued to watch as some gold-hearted individuals give her money. However, most of what I saw them give her was peanuts by an ordinary individual’s standards. Then I thought to myself, “What would life have been like if I were in her place? Is fate to blame for her circumstances?” I could not answer these questions, but on further pondering, I realized that my rough estimate of the sum she had received would not give her and her son a desired future.
They say that for the learned, there is hope; for the able bodied, the sun still will shine; and for the elitist, the sky is the starting point. But who can tell what will become of the unprivileged in a world that speaks of the survival of the fittest. I hear you say que sera sera (what will be will be). Well, I don’t think so. Certainly not when reality is staring us in the face.
When we strive for the future it is because we believe in our abilities, our qualifications. But a brief look around us would inform us that we are lucky to have even the smallest iota of hope. I remember being told of a blind, deaf and dumb Hausa man who was raggedly dressed. He was obviously was destitute and was been paraded in a wheelbarrow (not a wheelchair) around the marketplace in search of kind-hearted individuals to give him alms. Despite the scorching sun, the blind man stretched his arms out in a well-rehearsed position while his loving folk pushed him about in the wheelbarrow. Sincerely, my intention is not to dissuade you from alms-giving but rather to suggest that we refocus our minds. Thus we will know that we can wipe tears away without the help of our government.
We have to believe that where we have a strong will there is a way. Without this, we would have to admit that individuals such as the two cases cited here may as well be said to have chosen a profession. If we realize that poverty is not always by choice and that the poor will not cease to exist, if we see that our riches and accomplishments are not meant solely for us and for our families (no need to hoard our resources), then we will extend what we have to those who haven’t a hope of ever eating a balanced meal. What else could the writer have meant in the song “Heal the World”?
I do not know how far alms could take those who have to beg for them. However, it is obvious that they can’t give their offspring the desirable standard of education with these peanuts. It is imperative to note that our dreams are unending. No matter what we achieve, our continuing dreams easily make room for us to procrastinate acting on our obligations. With our dreams going on and on, we unknowingly postpone our intended achievements to a particular level of attainment, not realizing that many lives have slipped to the Great Beyond because of our slow response to their constant calls.
It is time to learn about the happiness that comes from changing lives outside those of our loved ones. Until we realize that we do not need to be stars before we become philanthropists, until we put to use our intellectual abilities, until we bring to reality the seemingly impossible dream of building a haven for these ones, until we take to our hearts and minds their dying need for a future, and not just a single meal, until… until… until…
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Hi ! you are reading about me and I must express how delighted I am about this.Well . . .Titi is a Nigerian by birth and a very friendly sort.Of all her hobbies (strolling, shopping, making friends),she has one outstanding one which is as a result of life experiences and that is humanitarian service.Still a student but hoping to be in full time service when opportunity calls to help alleviate poverty,corruption and insecurity in Africa.
As you read this I implore you to remember to always live a word of love with everyone you come across.Cheers.God bless.
re:more than just alms Adeniyi Kehinde
| Jul 8th, 2008
Titi,this is quite thought-provoking.Youths like us shld be able to transform this ideals into policies when we get there.
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