Saturday, 29 October 2011

Give, and it will be given to you

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is an older lady that spends her days sitting on a camping chair, with a row of colourful plastic bags stretched out in a row at her feet. She sits on one corner of a four-way stop and I drive past her on my way to/from the gym. I have never seen anyone buy a bag from her, so I don't know how she survives. 

The other day, a new Mini was driving in front of me, and this tiny blond-haired child was leaning out of the back window. Suddenly the car stopped and in my rear-view mirror I saw the child stretching out its hand with a green apple in it and the lady from the corner running towards it. 

I have never thought about giving her food, because I don't know if charity is appropriate. I mean, if you are trying to earn a living by selling your bags, I guess you would prefer people to actually buy them than having to run after an apple from a car. 

It also bothers me when people give car guards money from their cars. Go up to the person and look them in the eye and put your R2 in their hand. Acknowledge them. The general population seems to want to ignore others who work menial jobs. I know a lot of people get angry about the amount of car guards one encounters and having to pay for every minute you park somewhere. It bothers me as well, because I feel one should be able to park in safety wherever one is. But if you want to give, don't do it condescendingly. 

What do I give? Hmm. I don't go to church, do I don't donate there. I'll give food or money to beggars on street corner. I pay car guards. I'll send an sms to one of those "donate R10 for rhino conservation"-efforts. There is a newspaper-delivery-man whom we will give a plate of food to if we're at home when he  delivers the paper on Tuesdays. 

I would prefer to donate my time rather than donating money which I do not really have. But one must realize that one is always more fortunate, still, than others. I live in comparable luxury. I have the privilege of  education, transport, shelter, a job ( sort-of) and there is always food in the house.

I could share more.  

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