The other day at dinner my brother said to me, “You have some really good friends.” I smiled and nodded, nothing I would say could fill that space sufficiently.
Last month after 4040’s annual fundraiser, 5 aside UG, Vivian* called me up. She had seen the surplus we made from the event and decided to round off the figure. I was really pleased by the offer because we had not made as much as anticipated. Vivian and I planned to meet for lunch that day but our schedules failed to match so I went by her office instead. She handed me the money casually while I sat there wide eyed and grinning. Heavy on my heart that day was the situation my friend Bridget was going through. She has been unemployed for a while and countless job applications later, the hunt seems more and more futile. We talked a bit about her qualifications and Vivian agreed to keep her ears open in case of any opportunity.
Fast forward to later that month, during one of my whatsapp chats with Vivian, she asked me to remind her about ‘something’ on the 22nd of July. I did not ask questions because it wasn’t the first time she had been sneaky with information. I always let her be no matter how curious I am. I made a note to remind her and even forgot about that conversation. On Wednesday, 20th July, I sent her a message reminding her. I was sure it was about a conversation we needed to have although I had no idea what she needed to tell me. We agreed to meet two days later.
That Friday I got up with a to-do list for days and spent the better half of the morning trying to figure out what I could cancel. It turned out everything was important. I decided to take a stroll to Vivian’s work place just before heading to Kibuli for 4040’s weekly literacy sessions. We took a short walk instead and it was then that she gave me the most pleasant surprise I have had in ages!
She handed me an envelope and asked me to pass the money on to my friend Bridget. “That can be her upkeep as she looks for something to do.”
These were my follow up questions as I picked my jaw off the pavement where I had stopped to stare at this creature. She downplayed it in true Vivian style. I can’t cry. I won’t cry I thought to myself. She gracefully assured me she would deny me and walk away if I made a fool of myself. Smh.
I gave her a huge hug and we soon parted ways. My legs could not move fast enough. I needed to go to a mobile money point to send Bridget the money and call her to give this testimony. I finally found a spot on Dewinton road, started the transaction and called her before it was completed. Poor girl was in shock and started to cry. The mobile money agent was probably eavesdropping because I could see her face light up as the conversation continued.
Vivian and Bridget have never met. They probably will one day but Vivian saw a need and from the goodness of her heart, decided to bring some sunshine into a ‘stranger’s’ life. By now, I guess you know where I am going with this so I will go ahead;
You probably know someone who is stuck in a rut. Maybe even several people. Each time you think about helping them, you convince yourself that the world isn’t yours to save or that there is only so much that you can do as an individual. I urge you to do that ‘small bit’ whose impact you are undermining.
Perhaps it is your friend, a colleague, member of the family or even a stranger whose story you have heard about. Whether it is an anonymous donation, a phone call to check how they are doing, a month’s worth of grocery shopping or a simple visit that will leave their spirits lifted, just do it. Do whatever you feel compelled to do in your capacity.
Chances are high that they may not be able to repay you for it. Chances are also really high that they will pay it forward, probably not now, but eventually.
Lately the news is even more frightening than horror movies, but oh! there is also so much good in the world- be part of it; make it known.