These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Why do you matter to me?

Heather left the luxurious surrounding of the seminar room in the exclusive sanctum of Oxford University. High on the company she had just met and the ideas that now floated around her mind she made her way back along the ever-busy streets towards her parked car.

A young girl, sat in a doorway as she fed a large bone, mostly meatless bone to a grateful dog, caught her attention. Slowing her steps Heather reached into her handbag and rooted around for her purse. Pushing aside her phone and keys she retrieved it.

Chloe looked up at the woman who now stood besides her.
A warm smile passed between them.
“Hello. Just give me a minute,” Heather moved her credit cards aside as she searched for some change.
“Hi. No worries, I’m not going anywhere for now,” came the answer. The dog continued to lick the huge bone and to search for small pieces of meal on it.
“So, what are you doing out here?” Asked Heather.
Chloe laughed.
“I’ve just got this bone from the butcher’s for Jake, so I’m making sure he gets something to eat.”
She held the bone with one hand and stroked the dog’s head with her other one.
“Are you sleeping on the streets tonight?”
“I hope not, but…” again Chloe laughed a ironic laugh, a deep meaningful laugh that was hard to hear from a girl not yet in her twenties, “I’ve got a problem, or so they say.”
Heather looked down on the girl’s hair and clothes. She had obviously not been on the streets for too long. What was she rebelling against? Where was her family?
“Oh yeah? What’s that then?”
With a smile that came from her eyes as well as her mouth she said, “I’m not pregnant, I’m not on drugs and I have a dog. So all the places in the shelters have to go to the others as a priority.”
“What about the one on St. Michael’s Street?…Won’t they take you in? The Gap, I think.” Heather moved her hand around in her purse and selected more coins. She had just purchased two expensive books at the seminar and was initially thinking of only a small amount to give to this girl, but the longer she stood there the more she wanted to give.
“I’ve already been to all of them, you have to get there early to get a chance. But the one down by the ice rink, St David’s, the man there, he said that if I come back later, he’ll try to keep a place for me and Jake, so at least I’ve got a chance for tonight. So I’m just waiting for now.”

Suddenly feeling as if whatever she did would not make a difference a shyness enveloped Heather. But she fought it and held out the coins in her hand.
“I hope you don’t mind if I give you this…”
Wiping her hands on her clothes to remove the smell and touch of the bone Chloe looked up again.
“Don’t worry to do that,” Heather said quickly, “I don’t mind touching you.”
The laugh came again, but with more warmth.
“You’d be surprised how many people don’t want to have any physical contact with me. It’s as though if they touch me they’ll become like me. They look at me, throw a few coins in my direction and run away down the road. So, thanks, thanks a lot.”

Humanitarianism. The very word conjures up ideas of big corporations and aid projects.
Daily we have evidence that the businesses supply help to alleviate suffering to many worthy causes, and it is therefore necessary for these organizations to be present in the world today.

But why? Why do they exist in the first place? When did human generosity become a business? The individual duty to promote the welfare of other individuals has seemingly been lost, or buried under the mountain of selfishness and individual greed. Community interests seem to have died.

Humanity- how do we treat each other? In a loving, thoughtful, helpful, concerned, charitable, compassionate, gentle way?

See a human being today. Help another person.

Who can I help? Any person.

Remember, everyone is someone.

I am who I am because of who we all are.

Humanitarianism is big business. I’m also making it my business. Ubuntu.

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