Mon | Jun 21, 2021

Once there is life there is hope

Published:Wednesday | June 6, 2012 | 12:00 AM

HELLO MI neighbour! Mike's (not his real name) experience is a testimony to the fact that no one who seeks our help should be despised. If we were to ask ourselves - "would I rather be the beggar?" our reaction to them would have been much kinder. When I met Mike one morning in 2008, he was broke, hungry, frustrated and tired - the 'white squall' was telling. Though not in his shoes, I felt his pain. With no money to assist him to 'get a cup of tea', I gave him the breakfast that I had.

A little food now in his stomach, a conversation became easy. He was stuck at his wits end - no job and no money for personal maintenance. Drugs were a major contributor to his present status - no focus, no purpose. He was mostly on the streets - home was unstable. He needed help quickly.

Question: what would Jesus do? Defying logic, I had compassion on him as Jesus would. We had a long conversation followed by a prayer. He wanted to pick himself up, live a normal life and contribute to society like every responsible citizen. Though very intelligent and wanted to earn a living, his social skills rendered him unemployable.

What were his options? He could try the 'bag-juice-and-banana-chips business'. If he got the startup capital, would he use it on drugs or for the intended purpose? I decided against taking on the role of an arbiter. After all, everyone deserves a few chances to make something of his/her life ... . Three days later, he got the cash to purchase the goods for the little business. When I saw him about a week later, he was beaming - he could now purchase food and toiletries as a result of his little business. Great!

For about four years I had not seen or heard from Mike. Did he have a relapse? Was my effort in vain? I did not entertain those questions but continued on my trail of assisting others, knowing that 'good deeds never go unrewarded and bad deeds never go unpunished'.

Pleasant surprise

So when I saw Mike again two days ago I was dumbfounded. His face looked familiar, but I could not associate him with the person I had met four years ago. He was neatly clad, businesslike and purposeful. During his absence the little business from which he maintained himself 'ran into difficulty with the authorities' and he could no longer sell on the streets. Around that same time he got a job at a car wash.

Still continuing his upward mobility, Mike is now employed to the National Council on Drug Abuse, where he contributes to the well-being of persons who are where he once was. He is involved in helping 'druggies' break the deadly habit and be reintegrated into their families and the society in general.

Mike has been happily reintegrated into his own family: a testimony to the fact that no one who seeks our help should be despised. Let's not be reluctant to assist even those we may think are beyond recovery. "Once there is life, there is hope". Change lives by giving hope!

Thanks for helping

1. Dianne, Manchester, for donation of clothing.

2. Neighbour, for donation towards relief of neighbour's asthmatic condition.

3. Neighbour, for offering a king-sized bed to a needy neighbour.

4. Ms Smith, for offering household items to a needy neighbour.

Opportunities to help

Single, St Elizabeth mother of two needs food and clothing for children.

Marcia, Manchester, needs a wheelchair for someone who weighs 240lbs.

Senior citizen, St Catherine, unemployed, mentally challenged ... need three sheets of zinc and a second-hand door.

Winsome, Manchester, asking for sewing machine ... unemployed.

Keisha, St Elizabeth, five children, is trying to rear chickens to assist with financial situation - needs feed for them. Also needs size-eight clothing for girls.

Nickiesha, St Mary, mother of two girls - ages three and 10. Husband met accident, unemployed ... needs food and lunch money for school.

To help us, 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