Thu | Jan 20, 2022

Hello Mi Neighbour | ‘Share the best of us with the rest of us’

Published:Wednesday | February 27, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Needy people in downtown Kingston gather around the Downer family vehicle as box lunches are distributed by family members.

Hello mi neighbour! Joyce, St Catherine, needed a pair of size eight shoes and gave me a shout-out. Having publicised her need through this column and my weekly feature on Love 101 FM, Delores from St Catherine called to resolve Joyce’s problem. This messenger then relayed the good news to Joyce, who was quite elated. Both neighbours were connected with each other within a short time, and the outcome has been pleasant. What do you call that? Whatever you may call it, dear reader, for sure, two persons are now happier than before.

Story is told of an anthropologist who had been studying the habits of an African tribe. On his final day, he filled a gift basket with delicious edibles, placed it under a tree and then gathered the children in the village for a competition. This visitor drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children, and said, “When I tell you to start, run to the tree and whoever gets there first will win the gift basket.”

On hearing the word “go”, the children looked at one another, smiled, held hands, ran together to the tree, sat together around the basket and enjoyed the goodies as a group. When asked by the shocked anthropologist why they ran as one, a group member answered, “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” An African word used for such expression of unselfishness is ‘Ubuntu’, often translated as ‘I am because we are’. In a more philosophical sense, it’s ‘the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’.

So, you tell me, that old stove in good condition that is no longer in use, do you know that someone would be very happy to have it in their kitchen to help prepare a meal for their family? Some of these neighbours have been using wood fire and coal for a very long time, even as they battle respiratory issues. Hmmm.

There is another story about a wealthy man who made it very early in life. During ‘stock-taking’ one day, he discovered a huge problem: space was not keeping pace with his mounting possessions. On consultation with himself, instead of sharing some of his surplus with the less fortunate in the community, he decided to build bigger warehouses to store all his possessions, which should last him for many years. Pleased with himself, and was about to settle in bed that night, he heard a voice: you fool, you will die tonight, what will become of all your possessions?

Lessons learnt from these stories should include the idea that those who amass much wealth only for selfish pleasure are living in a fool’s paradise, and will some day reap the reward reserved for such persons.

So as we plan and prepare for the future, let’s remember that tomorrow is promised to no one, and there is no greater neighbourly act than to share the best of us with the rest of us. It is the adherence to our obligation to the well-being of others that legitimises our place in the human race.



- Courtney, St Andrew, for donation in kind.

- Pam and the St Catherine Chapter for donation.

- Vilma, St Andrew, for donation.

- Beverly, St Catherine, for offering shoes to Joyce, St Catherine.

- Joan and sister, St Andrew, for donation.




- Icelyn, St Catherine, amputee, needs mattress, TV and a refrigerator also.


- Lorna, St Thomas, disabled widow, asking for a television.


- Mother of three, St Elizabeth, asking for zinc and 2 x 4 board.


- Ophelia, St Andrew, asking for a dining table.


- Ruberta, St James, needs help to pay for injection which she badly needs.


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