Have you ever said hi to someone and instead of saying hi back, they just continued with their business as if nothing happened?
Well, if this has never happened to you, just get to a matatu one of those busy evenings when everyone is gloomy, sit next to a lady (they are often the ones that do not respond to greetings) and say hallo. She will give you that nervous look that seems to ask “what are you selling” as she tries to access whether you are a hawker or sales person. In short, even giving a simple greeting has become a heavy task!
In a city where begging has become a business with syndicates positioning their ‘employees’ on strategic locations before the break of dawn, it is not easy to give.
Thee person who started this begging business has destroyed the opportunity for genuine beggars who cannot fend for themselves, because you never know if they are working for themselves or for someone else.
Besides begging, there are also ‘fake’ homes and children centers which people run for the sake of receiving donations and handouts. Most NGOs run such businesses. I remember a time I visited a relative in Kasarani, then a teacher friend of hers visited us. She was disgusted because of what her employer was doing.
A prominent school in Nairobi had visited their school to give donations to poor and orphaned children who according to the school director make the school population. What these poor high school students did not know is that the center was a business like most other Estate schools around, and even one of the ‘orphans’ was the son of the school director. Pupils were trained on how to lie about the problems they face at home, with some even wearing mismatching slippers so as to appear poor and attract more donations from these poor students who were asking their parents for money to help reach out to the underprivileged in Nairobi, only for the donations to end up in the Director’s home.
This was a very heart breaking story, but not exceptional. Greed is rife in the city, and has hardened the hearts of cheerful givers because nobody wants to be taken for a ride.
Need I say that greed is also what drives good employees to defraud their employers, and good civil servants to loot public resources?
Besides greed, there is also selfishness that prevents us from giving. Sometimes back I sent email messages to some selected people asking for job opportunities in the organizations they were working for. I selected both male and female from different backgrounds, and working for different types of organizations. I was more interested in how they were responding to the mail.
Some did insinuate that they worked hard to attain their positions and could not just ‘give’ someone a job who is seated at home sourcing for opportunities through the internet! Those especially working for government (yeah, I emailed them too) did not like the idea of someone securing a job without feeling the pain of tarmacking!
In your lifetime, you must have met people who feel like giving is a huge favour that should not just be dished out. They want you to work hard for it, sweat blood, or even pay for everything.
Whoever introduced the phrase ‘vitu vya bure viliisha na Nyayo’ just opened the door to selfishness.
Well, the bottom line is that giving is a gift. Those who have been chosen to give never tire of doing it, even if it means giving everything they have for the sake of another’s happiness.
The downside is that givers are often abused, and takers get to a point where they feel entitled to the giver’s gift. Most people stop treating givers as persons, and start treating them as resources and thus when they are in need, no one is there for them.
Most of the time, people who receive from them run away when it’s their turn to give.
Yes, giving is not easy but givers know that it is a special gift in a world that only knows how to receive.
As you give, also learn to receive and as you receive, learn also to give.