World Events

The small things we can do to make the world a better place for all

June 21, 2016

Right now, if you wanted to live blissfully without any troubles, worries or concerns, you may just be able to pack a few of your belongings and head off to a tiny island located somewhere in the middle of the ocean, somewhere between South America, Africa and Antarctica.

I have one such island in mind but I won’t be naming it. I leave that to your own imaginings and resourcefulness. In fact, your task won’t be difficult. Just pull out a map of the world and have a look for yourself.

Now, why would I want to leave all of you behind and go off to a small island in the middle of the ocean with only roaring seas, green hills, thousands of birds and a few land animals for company? I will have somebody to talk to. There are a few people living there, and they speak the same language too. We also have the internet, so we’ll still be in touch somehow. But the main reason for wanting to escape to remoteness could be perceived as being cowardly.

I have to acknowledge that this is so. Yes, there are a number of useful things I could be doing on this remote island, but the skills and compassion that I have been blessed with could be put to better use right here at home. The very fact that I am sitting here, blogging for my supper, I might add, is also one small and useful contribution towards making the world a better place for all. I never preach, but some of my words may add value to others and encourage them to get up in the morning with a lot more enthusiasm.

So, the reason for thinking about leaving everything behind has mainly to do with the fact that the world is a right royal mess right now and there’s just too much chaos around me right now. It’s overwhelming at times. Even when I go to the mall out of necessity to do the shopping sometimes, I feel the pressure. People are always rudely bumping into one another, rushing about. The friendly or not so friendly sales clerk also usually takes her sweet time, oblivious to the growing line.

But, if I could just catch my dreary breath for a moment, I could begin to see the positives in all of this. For one thing, the poor child is just doing her job. And while I might impatiently believe that she’s asking me silly questions, she’s doing her job quite well. By taking her time on the till, carefully scanning each item, she’s making sure that there will be no errors. Not for a moment could I imagine doing her job, keeping up with all those crowds, making grumbling sounds while she responsibly handles people’s charge cards and cash.

It’s a responsible job, really, and the ability to handle pressure counts for a lot in this day and age. Just one mistake and you could be out of a job. I try very hard these days to check my poor habits of impatience. I play a little game and just try to be nice to everyone I bump into. I’m not old fashioned as such, but sadly the finer arts of chivalry have left most men today. It’s only the old ones who mind you. But, perhaps many of you will argue that you don’t mind being treated as equals, one of the boys, let’s just say.

I say, I’m still a lady, even if it does not always show during the worst of times. But, have I lost the thread of what I’ve been trying to tell you all along? I’m happy to say that, no, I don’t think so, because I think I’ve just served you with the perfect living embodiment of a metaphor on how to survive in this crazy and hurly-burly world we call home. The girl is just one such cashier, and with some unsavory exceptions, there are many thousands of them around the world.

And have you noticed that every time you approach the check-out or till, it’s mostly occupied by hard-working girls? Although I must just mention that in certain places of the world, that’s started to change, apparently in the name of equality. But essentially, these familiar sights are indicative of job reservation from years ago when men were destined to the professions while women, those who did go out to work, had to occupy more menial posts, to take nothing away from our friendly check-out girl here.  But as I dejectedly had those thoughts about running away, my mind was also with those who won’t ever be walking into a supermarket to buy essentials (and some luxuries) that we all take for granted.

World food prices have skyrocketed. Blame is placed on extreme weather patterns which, in any case, have been caused by humankind’s greed for more. Even where the weather remains good for farming and producing fresh produce, prices are still high. There are among the poorest of the poor that have never seen the inside of a supermarket. I remember watching a documentary on a group of courageous young Sudanese men (no women, I might add) who were granted asylum in different parts of America.

They were nice men really, some of them quite handsome in their cultural attire of flowing robes and such. But you had either to laugh or sob when, during their acculturation to the Western ways of life, they had no idea what they were doing in a large supermarket. To them, everything was surreal, and they could never understand why food was sealed and packed under plastic and cardboard. Nevertheless, there’s just about enough time to leave you (and me) with one last message of hope.

No matter how overwhelming the problems of this world are, encouragingly, the very little that we can and should do to help others in need will make a difference.

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