Today I saw a little boy at a stoplight that I frequently pass. I know the regulars so I realized he’s new. It’s sad there are even any ‘regulars’ in the first place. I’ve been trying to stick to my resolution that I’m not going to be conned anymore by insincere and/or rude persons (you’d have to read my previous blog posts or have seen my Facebook posts to know the back story to that) and apart from that, my windshield is getting scratched by the windshield wipers and I really don’t need that. Anyway, the point of that diversion in my story is that I had made up my mind that I was going to tell him no. I did just that so he wiped off the little area he had sprayed and went on to the other cars. His little face melted me though. He wasn’t like the little boy I’ve posted about who was quite rude and tormented me each day.
I started blowing my horn for him to come back so I could give him something. The banana man got his attention for me. He came back and I handed him the money. He politely said, “Thank you miss.” Typical me started talking to him. Why I can’t let people go on their merry way, I don’t know. “I’ve never seen you out here before. Are you going to be out here now?” He hung his head and all he could offer as a response was, “Nothing miss.” I then asked, “Are you okay?” He said, “Yes, miss” and my heart melted even more looking at his face. He walked away but not before turning back to say yet again, “Thank you miss.”
I drove off and all I could think was, well suppose he had said he’s not okay. Then what? How could I have helped? The truth is, just the mere fact that this child is out at the stoplight is enough to tell me that he’s not okay. That brings me back to this – what else can I do to contribute? Heck, what can WE do? Yes, I’ve done and continue to do things, but is this drop in the ocean enough? What else can I do? How do I make a bigger impact and dare I go as far as hope to get these children off the street? There are many key issues arising here; the lack of employment, the need for family planning to be emphasized and even the need for parenting classes, among other things.
I did the Digicel 5K (great initiative) recently and in the midst of feeling pumped as I went along, I also felt sad. There were a few times that we passed homeless persons or children out on the street watching as all the excitement passed them by. I mean children you could clearly see were less fortunate. I saw one that didn’t even have on shoes. This walk took place in the night and some of them were standing there with no adult in sight. There we were walking to raise money and awareness for special needs, and here were other needs lining the street. So many areas need our help. Just this weekend I was driving downtown (yes I had someone with me this time so no getting lost) and saw a homeless man with one leg dragging himself across the street. Now I’ve seen many homeless persons, as I’m sure you have, but this hit me on another level. Can you imagine that this is how this poor man has to get around? Just dragging himself. Man…
There’s so much to be done and I commend those who have joined the good fight in whatever way they can. I’m straying a bit , but I guess my mind is on areas in general that lack so much and need assistance. Our hospitals are one such case. While recently they have been in the media extensively, the truth is that it is not news to us that some of them are in a deplorable state and it is not news that some lack essential equipment. We knew this. A particularly upsetting incident reminded us of these things, and has put it further in the spotlight, but as I said, we knew that these things were happening to some extent. We’re guilty of getting outraged about things then forgetting all about them.
Tremendous kudos to Shaggy for all he does for the Bustamante Children’s Hospital. He didn’t just turn the newspaper page or change the channel or send out a tweet with a great hashtag when he realized the problems the hospital faces. He took action. I used to volunteer there while I was in high school and I ended up stopping. It pained my heart to go and play with the kids and cheer them up for a brief moment, only to leave them lying there in their hospital beds. It’s something that I really, really should have seen through because those children look forward to the visits, but I wasn’t strong enough to continue. I chose instead to start volunteering at the Salvation Army’s School for the Blind.
I enjoyed assisting the students with their homework assignments and developed a good relationship with them. There is one in particular that I am so proud of. When he was studying for CXC he asked me for extra assistance so I picked him up and let him come to my house to go over notes. I was his ‘writer’ for the exam and I remember there were some times he would ask me what answer he should choose. I refused to give him any answers and instead encouraged him to listen carefully. I am beyond proud to say that he passed with distinctions. He went on to pursue his degree at UWI and get this, he even has his Masters now! After achieving so much, he now has a problem; there are barely any job opportunities for the visually impaired. Well, there are barely any opportunities for persons with disabilities full stop. I need to rephrase that even more. There are barely any opportunities even for persons who don’t have a disability. I’ve been privileged to be a part of this young man’s life and watch him work against the odds to accomplish all that he has, but how do I help him now? If anyone can assist me in answering this question, please let me know.
Today I was reminded that I need to find ways to do more. I need to find a way to take it to a higher level. I also need to encourage others to get more involved, and I’m happy I can use my blog to reach persons. I worry that my drop in the ocean is not enough, but if we all do what we can, our collective efforts can accomplish something.
I’d like to end by letting you all know that if you have items (in good condition) that you want to give away, you can take them to the Salvation Army’s headquarters on Waterloo Road. Just put the bag in the receptacle, and that’s it. As simple as that. Do what you can, volunteer where possible, make someone’s life a little easier. Let’s be a TEAM, because Together Everyone Achieves More.