Some time back I once fainted, in town…the next thing I knew, I woke to find myself on a hospital bed. Next to me, was this sick young girl. She looked wan and very weak. Her lips were very dry and nearly cracking. Her clothes weren’t clean and she barely had anything to cover herself, just a small “katenge”.
My case wasn’t that bad (low blood sugar)…I was put on a drip and got a glucose injection and after, I was discharged. As I walked outside the hospital, I kept thinking about the young girl. I realized how lucky I am. I have access to medical care. And I am reasonably strong and healthy – if I got sick today, I could recover.
When I was young, I took some things for granted. After all, I was young and I didn’t know what life could be on the other side. One thing I took for granted was education. I never thought about how lucky I was to be educated. Another thing I took for granted was food. I always saw food being put on the table, every day. I never went to sleep hungry at night. Little did I know that some people didn’t have what to eat.
Then slowly as I grew up, I began to appreciate things around me more. As I saw more and more of the world out there, I realized all the things I’d been given aren’t rights, but privileges. I realized that being literate is not a right but a GIFT. I realized that there are people out there who don’t have their 5 senses, and to have mine is a GIFT. I am able to see the sunrise and the sunset, I am able to hear birds sing, I can walk outside and feel the sun’s warmth on my skin. I have tasted the sweetness of chocolate cake. I realize that some people have had painful experiences with their parents. Some lost their parents through illnesses and wars/conflicts. Some have felt abandoned, betrayed and hurt. I’m lucky that my parents are still here and lucky to have a great relationship with them…this makes appreciation pour from my heart.
I remember when I was in primary school, sometimes our teachers would tell us to ask for clothes and bring them the following day (clothes to give to the poor or refugees returning back home). There were always spare clothes at home. My mom would spend the whole night putting them together and packing them. She seemed to enjoy it, something I never understood. Then the following morning we would go back to school with bags full of clothes. Others rarely minded about bringing the clothes and we often felt ‘ashamed’ walking in class pulling those bags behind us. Sometimes we begged her to pack few but she forced us to take all what we didn’t need/use. And she would help us to the bus stop, to make sure we never left them behind. Even today she still asks us for clothes we don’t use and gives them away.
I’m glad she did what she did…she set a good example for us. It’s today that I realize the impact it makes on people’s lives.
And I’ve come to realize that the truth is, I am doing better than a lot of people in this world.