Thu | Apr 25, 2019

Hello Mi Neighbour | A simple smile can mean so much to someone

Published:Thursday | August 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM
A simple smile can mean so much to someone

Hello, mi neighbour! I got caught in the New Kingston traffic a week ago and man, was it unpleasant! But, for my well-being, I controlled my emotions and reminded myself that it was just life happening. For a very long while, motorists were trapped, with petrol burning, anxiety soaring and impatience growing!

Even though it was a horrid afternoon with the weekend peculiarities building along the journey, for me, time was not really being wasted.

Sitting in the traffic and suffering such inconvenience was worth it: I was headed home! And so, rather than permitting myself to become overwhelmed by the situation, I used the opportunity to start writing this article, which I hope will be meaningful to you.

To add to my consolation was the fact that I was in good company. As you know, I currently drive a low-end motor vehicle. But, being surrounded by so many high-end cars, my afternoon took on another dimension: we were all in one category, even though the categories of motor vehicles differed.

Life's like that. Our status, situations and circumstances may differ, but we are all under the same human umbrella where whatever affects one, affects all.

So, finally, I was home, hot and sticky (yes, no AC) but safe, with a wealth of knowledge and an adjusted perspective on how to cope in traffic: if you have to travel anywhere in New Kingston on a Friday afternoon, especially on a month end, if at all possible, don't drive - walk.


If you happen to drive and get caught in traffic, don't yield to the temptation to become anxious and complaining (even if it was your spouse who sent you on a mission). Be cool, and let the problem-solving juices flow.

As these juices flow, ideas on how to resolve the traffic congestion across Jamaica, especially on weekends, may also develop. Who knows? You may also carve out the best crime plan ever, or a good waste management plan to resolve the Riverton crisis. You could even find ways to help with the food crisis facing families and how to answer the cry of neighbours who call me in search of housing solutions, etc.! Wow! The possibilities are endless.

And as those ideas flow - in two, twos - you, too could find yourself out of the traffic and well on your way without recognising how a new perspective has shortened your journey. Yes, it works.

And now, a switch to the neighbours who need our embrace: smile with the rich who sometimes cannot smile due to their preoccupation with wealth.

A simple smile can help to normalise blood pressure and relieve stress.

Give a word of hope to a neighbour preoccupied with his/her poverty - you could save a nervous breakdown.

Give food to the hungry - it could save his/her life and yours.

Until next time, remember, if you get caught in traffic, don't be overwhelmed; use the time wisely - resolve problems.

Please see some listed below.


n Mrs Antoine, St Andrew - for offering a sewing machine to a neighbour.

n Miss Maitland, St Andrew - offering children's clothing, a stroller and a car seat for babies.

n Doreen, Clarendon - offering to assist neighbour.


n Rose, St Mary, unemployed - needs fabric to make pillowcases as a livelihood. Also needs a dresser, chairs.

n Miss Stewart, unemployed - just did surgery; no money. Seeking help with back-to-school items for 14-year-old son.

n Sister Jeniffer, Sister Mary, teacher of wayside Sunday school - asking for food, clothing and back-to-school supplies for about 30 children

n Stacey-Ann, St Catherine, single mother - needs help with back-to-school supplies.

n Jennel, St Ann, single mother of four - asking neighbours for help with food.

To help, please call Silton Townsend @ 334-8165, 884-3866, or deposit to acct # 351 044 276 NCB, or send donations to HELLO NEIGHBOUR c/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; Paypal/credit card: email: Or contact e-mail: Mr Townsend exclusively manages the collections and distributions mentioned in this column and is neither an employee nor agent of The Gleaner