How about a National Neighbour Day?
HELLO MI neighbour with Maas Gusse
HELLO MI neighbour! The dictionary defines neighbourliness as "the disposition to be friendly and helpful to neighbours". Can you imagine the social benefits of a Jamaican National Neighbour Day - a day when Jamaicans engage in deliberate acts of neighbourliness? Many countries around the world have already established a National Neighbour Day and are reaping rich rewards. More on this next time.
After nine years of highlighting the personal problems of some Jamaicans and watching others help to resolve them, I am convinced that many among us have been endowed with a great capacity for generosity. As we speak, Mrs Metz from St Andrew has just called to offer two beds to needy neighbours.
It's been nine years since Hello Neighbour started being aired on LOVE I01 FM and five years since The Gleaner published the first article. During this time, thousands of Jamaicans have received help from their neighbours at the personal level.
This Hello Neighbour initiative started with a mandate to recapture and strengthen the spirit of neighbourliness among Jamaicans. It posits the belief that all Jamaicans can and should contribute to the enrichment of all. The constant reminder (through this column) of the divine imperative to 'love thy neighbour as thyself' coupled with opportunities to help has redounded to the resolution of many personal problems. As a result, many positive relationships have been formed among Jamaicans, and many of them are much happier.
In this process, my simple task is to receive (via letters, etc.) the needs of needy neighbours and share them with other neighbours through the media - radio and newsprint - and watch the machinery work. It's like clockwork. Over the past few weeks for example:
1. Beryl, St Catherine, gave a refrigerator to Michelle.
2. Sophia offered blocks to a neighbour who is trying to build a little house.
3. Sean offered a stove to a St Andrew fire victim.
4. Tamara, Manchester, offered cement to a heart and kidney patient who is trying to complete a little house.
5. Claudia, St Catherine, assisted Richard with cash needed to pay for police record in order to get a job.
6. A neighbour offered to pay loan processing fee for a student.
I ask again: How about a National Neighbour Day? My recommendation is November 16, as that was the date on which Hello Neighbour was first aired on LOVE 101 FM nine years ago. On that proposed National Neighbour Day, a bag of groceries could be delivered to the single mother whose five children often go to bed hungry. The community could trump up and fix the senior citizen's roof which has been leaking for some time. Neighbours who have not been on speaking terms could forgive each other and start building healthier relationships in the communities, etc.
And to answer the question as to what happens throughout the rest of the year: Community members will continue to work at those problems that were highlighted on the Neighbour Day. Let's continue the dialogue on a proposed National Neighbour Day until one is established in Jamaica.
Before you go, please respond to list below.
Thanks for helping
Judith, St Andrew, for offering a stove and refrigerator to Euphema, St Catherine.
Neighbour, for offering a laptop to needy student.
Neighbour, for offering clothing for eight-year-old girl.
Neighbour, for offering female clothing for a needy neighbour.
Neighbour, for offering clothing to neighbour.
Opportunities to help:
Ms Ivy, Kingston, asking for a table and a stove - senior citizen.
Neighbour, graduated from high school - results are withheld due to non-payment of school fees - asking for help.
Tricia, Clarendon, mother of three asking for a bed.
Neighbour, single, unemployed mother with daughter who has a degenerative disease is asking for financial assistance to pay tuition fees in order to get her report.
Neighbour, father of four cannot find a job. Asking for brown sugar, ginger, grease paper to make Busta in order to earn an income.
To help, please call Silton Townsend at 334-8165, 884-3866, 299-3412 or deposit to acct # 351 044 276 NCB. (Bank routing #: JNCBJMKX) or send donations to Hello Neighbour, c/o 53 Half Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.