HELLO, MI neighbour! I share with you a delightful experience I had at a supermarket checkout counter last Sunday after rushing in to pick up a few items. While standing at the counter, I discovered that I was short of cash (that cashier was not accepting debit or credit cards).
As I was about to forgo one of the items, a lady ahead of me stretched a $50 note to me. Still short by $6.55, other customers dipped into their pockets and purses - the one who was quickest on the draw handed me $10. Wow! I went to the cashier with insufficient cash and left with change. A public thank you to those neighbours for their show of neighbourliness. My 50th anniversary wish for Jamaica is that this spirit of neighbourliness permeates its length and breadth in the years ahead.
During a conversation with my friend, Channing Allen, about Jamaica 50 recently, he made this statement which resonated with my passion: "Jamaica should be having a conversation on what we will do to ensure that the country is kept on the right path for the next 50 years - that is increasing in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, as she plays her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race." Yes, I believe that this will be a very important conversation.
The ability to converse is one of the greatest gifts to mankind. Through conversations, we learn about people, places and things. We understand how socialisation affects people and how to relate to them. Conversations work as a catalyst in addressing many ills in this world. The older ones among us will remember the fruit-bearing conversations that our parents and their peers had with us while growing up.
Those conversations helped to keep us on the straight and narrow. I remember distinctly as a youngster that I came close to starting a life of lawlessness, but I heard my mother's irresistible words of admonition and prayers ringing in my ears.
As we embark on the next 50 years of Independence, let's delve into some serious fruit-bearing conversations. And let's start with our youngsters.
Many of them have no sense of direction - they follow poor examples. Instead of conversing among ourselves about their lewdness and crudeness, how about striking up a life-changing conversation with them?
We are aware that as they are being fed with unhealthy information through modern communication devices, it has become more difficult to communicate with them. But whatever it takes, we must start that conversation that will help them to play their part in advancing our welfare. The sacrifice will be worth it. Trus' me.
And again we ask you to be a good neighbour and help someone from the list below. That sacrifice will also be worth it.
Thanks for helping
1. Keera, St Catherine, for offering a wheelchair to a needy neighbour.
2. Christine, St Elizabeth, for offering clothing for babies.
3. Percival, St James, for offering shoes (slippers) to a neighbour.
4. Joyce, St Andrew, for donating beds, dressers and dining table to needy neighbours.
5. Audrey, Trelawny, for offering men's clothing to a needy neighbour.
6. Everybody's Pharmacy, Cross Roads, for acts of neighbourliness.
Opportunities to help
Ms Ramsay, St Catherine, needs a pair of boys' shoes for back to school.
Doris, St Catherine, stroke victim - in need of diapers and toiletries.
Barbara, St Andrew, lost her job ... in need of a mattress.
Students, St Catherine, need school shoes: girl - size 13 (small), boy - size eight (normal).
Neighbour, Priscilla, unemployed mother of four - husband walked out - in need of food. Also needs help to send daughter to high school. Passed Grade Six Achievement Test; no money to pay for package, which cost $12,000.
Concerned neighbour, St Andrew, asking for assistance for a lady and her daughter whose house was damaged by the last hurricane and is still being flooded whenever it rains.
To help, please call 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, email firstname.lastname@example.org.