Neighbours moving hearts
Published: Wednesday | April 15, 2009
I begin this week's article by acknowledging Brian's touching expression of neighbourliness - a big thing to a family in crisis at Mary Brown's Corner, St Andrew, last Sunday morning.
Brian, who was on his way to Manchester, was willing to divert to St Mary just to help out the family (total strangers) who needed urgent assistance with transportation. That for me was the week's act of neighbourliness.
Another touching experience which moved my heart this past week was triggered by a letter (see box) from a young neighbour facing a series of crises and in need of solutions. Please allow me to share it with you today bearing in mind that the purpose of these articles is to highlight problems and spotlight solutions as we bring back the spirit of neighbourliness, especially at the personal level.
In the end, we will help to create the Jamaica we desire! We have tried our best to disguise the identity of the neighbour.
I am pretty confident that those us who help this neighbour will experience tremendous blessings because it means that we love our neighbour as ourselves - the gateway to divine favours.
"On Sunday, March 9, 2008, I left home to comb a church sister's hair. As I walked along the main road, a speeding motor car hit me from behind. The impact threw me from the sidewalk on to the road. A head wound, dislodged shoulder, right ribcage fractures, broken knees and severely smashed right leg speak volumes to the driver's speed.
I was taken to the hospital (in my parish) but the injuries were too much for them and so I was ambulanced to another hospital.
Though doubting my chances of survival, surgeries were performed during which seven pins and a metallic plate were placed along the left knee joint and two pins in the right. The right leg was smashed to the point where minced bones were removed.
Four holes were drilled in the leg from the top to the bottom of the bone above and below the gap. Into these holes were screwed pins, which were bolted to a horizontally placed metal pole along the top of the leg so that it would not get any shorter.
My entire body was crippled by excruciating pain - no amount of pain-killers brought relief. I bitterly regretted regaining consciousness. Because of the fractures to my ribcage, even breathing hurt severely. After three and a half weeks, I was discharged to orthopaedic physiotherapy and sent home.
Unable to source money to purchase prescribed painkillers, I silently bore the pain during the long days alone and, at nights when it got worse, I cried and punched the wall in the hope that the wall would absorb the pain. In this pain and agony, I spent a month confined to the bed and occasionally a wheelchair loaned to me by a church sister.
After this month, I began therapy on the left knee in the hope of being able to stand on it. Bending it against an almost 12-inch metal and seven screws has been extremely painful. After trying and falling countless times, I was finally able to stand with a walker and then a pair of crutches.
The driver of the car who had done this to me, after failing in his attempt to escape, reported to his insurance company that I was at fault, so insurance will offer no assistance anytime soon.
I have spent over $250,000 towards recovery and medical care. For this period, I have also been unable to work and having just entered adulthood have no money stacked away. My doctor suggested that I inform my parents. Technically, I do not have any as we have been estranged since my acceptance of the Adventist faith a year and six months ago.
I am simply unable to source the first cent toward this urgently needed $80,000. It is towards accumulating this $80,000 - so that I may again hope to walk one day - that I ask for a donation. Thanks for your contribution and may you be richly blessed."
To help, please call 906-3167, 884-3866 or 373-7745 or send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make the link up.
Those who desire to make financial donations to this project may make deposits to account # 351 044 276 at the National Commercial Bank. I close off this week with these words of wisdom: Always help the helpless because one day you may need help from the helpless whom you helped when you yourself become helpless.
Have a good 'neighbour day'.
Silton Townsend, better known to Jamaican as Maas Gussie, is an actor and charity activist.
Avis Andrews (right), manager of National Commercial Bank (NCB) Harbour View, and Bridgette Rhoden (centre), public relations officer at NCB Foundation, speak with students of Bull Bay All-Age School during a recent visit to the institution in St Thomas. The NCB Foundation presented to the school a cheque valued at $100,000 towards the repaving of the school grounds. Also pictured are Ishmael Roberston, chairman of the school's board and Gloria Malcolm-Foster, principal.
Can you help?
Here are some additional opportunities to help neighbours
Neighbour, St Catherine: forced out of her home by her own relative. Lives practically nowhere - seeking to start afresh. Asking neighbours to assist with sheets of ply board, zinc and other building materials to construct a home for herself and her two children.
Neighbour, Manchester: asking neighbour for POB and accounting textbooks for neighbour's daughter who is sitting exams.
Mother, St Mary: Seeking a used computer for her bright little daughter who is doing very well in her studies, (first and second in her class). She can, however, do even better if she has her own computer to work with. Willing to pay a small amount, if necessary.
Young neighbour, St Andrew: mother fell from tree and died. Now living with cousins and needs a bed for herself and sister. Everyone is now sleeping on the same bed.
Kelly, St Ann: burnt out of her home; now needs clothing for an 18-year-old and a one-month-old baby girl.
Neighbour, St Ann: two blind senior citizens (relatives who share accommodation) are in need of daily food and repairs to their home. Asking neighbours to assist as they are unable to work.
Neighbour: St Ann: tried to part a fight in which he then lost a hand. He now seeks to sustain himself through his own business in buying and selling. Asking neighbours to contribute items for sale or give financial assistance.