HELLO, mi neighbour! If you are a social activist, your heart is for the well-being of others. Raise, praise and accolades are not your priority. In my case, for example, one single call from a neighbour who desires to assist another is of greater value to me than a thousand congratulatory calls on my work. And don't get me wrong: I know that if people are happy with your work, they will not withhold praise and commendations from you. What is important is these become a means by which your batteries are recharged for greater service - with humility.
The following letter from a reader works as such a battery charger for me:
"It was a supreme and satisfying pleasure speaking with you this morning. I have avidly read your columns over the years, and am so proud of you for standing up for the faceless and the voiceless and grateful to The Gleaner for not abandoning the feature. It may not be obvious to the wider society how positively the work you do impacts Jamaica as a whole. It is a ripple effect and each person/family you help is one less teenage pregnancy and one less criminal spawned (not to mention one less suicide).
"Thank you for being the catalyst for birthing this programme and keeping it going so that we can have an avenue to be neighbourly to each other and bear each other's burdens. There are enough resources in the world that nobody has to go hungry. The problem is the lack of distribution, and may the Lord continue to bless you for using your life and dedicating so much time to correcting this anomaly in your own way.
"I will continue to pray for your personal success and contentment, as well as for the longevity and success of the programme.
Not living in Jamaica, it has always pained me that I had items I could donate, but was not able to. I was particularly moved to call you this morning when I read of the lady who needed size-11 shoes for church. This especially resonated with me because I know what it is not only to be in need, but also to not be able to procure size-11 shoes, being a wearer of that size myself.
"As we discussed, I hope you can put me in touch with someone in Trinidad who will be willing to take over a bag of shoes for this lady."
Readers, if you can assist here, please let me know.
As a closing note, the mishandling of praise and commendation leads to pride. And as the Good Book reminds us, "Pride goeth before a fall". Be careful. And remember also that those who "exalt themselves shall be abased" and "those who humble themselves shall be exalted".
Thanks for helping
1. Visiting neighbours for donating diapers to Jethro, Kingston, for his 93-year-old wife.
2. Neighbours, for help with school supplies and toiletries.
3. Neighbour, for offering grade-seven books.
4. Neighbour, for offering a bed to a neighbour who got burnt out.
5. Eloise, for two white blouses for Angela, who needed them for school.
6. Marilyn, St Catherine, for offering clothing to a neighbour.
Opportunities to help:
1. Ms Wright is asking for some help to pay back loan: "My mother and I are very sickly and are unemployed. They are planning to sell my mother's house and we have nowhere to go."
2. Neighbour, St Ann, whose children's father died is asking for a sewing machine to help make a living, and a refrigerator.
3. Lydia, St Thomas, needs a sewing machine to help make a living.
4. Neighbour, single mother, needs a stove, a dresser and a fridge.
5. Andrea needs clothing and shoes for girls aged 11 and 14, a 16-year-old and boy.
6. Neighbour, St Andrew, who is getting out of an abusive relationship needs a bed and clothing for a seven-year-old girl.
7. Elderly female neighbour, St Catherine, needs a stove.
8. Neighbour, St Catherine, is currently sleeping on the floor and needs a bed.
To help, please call Silton Townsend at 334-8165, 884-3866, 299-3412, 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 email@example.com.