Thanks for stopping by my bitácora again. I hope you find a lil’ bit helpful all I have been sharing with you so far. Today, I want to talk about a certain experience I had at a coldroom several weeks back.
I had gone to buy fish at this place and I met about two, three customers there as well and I was waiting for my turn. There was a woman, in a native wear with a large worn bowl and old sack at her feet, sitting on a wooden bench close to the entrance and she looked like she wanted to buy lots of fishes. A man in overall was close by as well, going about his business. Below is the kind of conversation I overheard (P.S this is not verbatim o. I am not that gifted. LOL. And the original convo took place in Yoruba sef.):
Man (to the woman): I want to smoke plenty fish o. I have a ceremony coming up. . .
Woman: Really? I can help you do it.
It then occurred to me the two must know each other and that the woman must be smoking fish for sale given the kind of fish she had mentioned earlier she had come for. So, keep in mind that now we are kind of looking at a low-income earner. . .
Man: How much will you smoke like one carton of fish for me?
Woman: Since you say it’s a ceremony, just bring the money for wood. I will not charge you for workmanship.
Man: Ahh! Seriously?
Woman: Yes na. Shebi we are all in this Nigeria suffering together. I understand things are tight but at least we need to celebrate occasions to thank God. . . I wouldn’t want to make profit off you over what I do every day (smoking fish). I can spare my time to smoke fish for your upcoming ceremony as part of my own contribution. All I would need is money for wood.
Man: Ahh! Thank you very much! I am so grateful o.
Woman: Haba. It’s nothing.
Man: What is the cost of the amount of wood needed to smoke a carton of fish?
Woman: Just Two hundred naira worth of wood.
Let me stop here and hope you get the idea.
POOR PEOPLE ARE KIND.
Okay. Okay. I know that may not be enough to convince you. So, let me tell you another story.
Few months back, I watched a middle-aged woman (who had been fanning flames and roasting corns under a weak umbrella inside the very hot sun and resultant scorching heat) generously give some of her roasted corns free of charge to a young lady who had come to buy some. Why? The young lady’s face looked familiar. “Isn’t she bothered about making some profits after sitting in the sun for so long?”, you may ask. But I tell you the truth, with her old clothes which looked like they needed changing and her weak umbrella that seemed as though the wind would carry it away, she looked genuinely happy (and without a care in this world!) giving out those corns to the lady.
You know why? She, probably, isn’t saving up money to buy some bags and shoes to impress the world but only living for the joy of it. She may be poor and have to roast corn to sell but is content and from that spirit can easily give and share.
I usually wonder why people in fancy cars would drive down the street, stop at a vendor’s, wind down their glass and proceed to really price down a perishable good till the seller is slightly frustrated and forced to sell at a lower price, then they snap at the unhappy seller to hurry up while packing the goods so they can quickly wind up the window of their airconditioned vehicle and continue on their luxurious journey.
You know why? ‘Cause I really don’t know too.
These days, and maybe always, you are safer receiving help from a poor person than the rich. It could be that the rich have forgotten how it feels to lack and as such do not empathize much with the less privileged. But, the poor are literally still in the humble state and know exactly how it feels and can easily give or share when they even barely have enough for themselves.
I really think to be able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes so as to ACT aright is a great disposition one can adopt whether one is poor or rich.
If you are comfortable and don’t have to toil in the sun to make a living, for example, put yourself in the position of that fellow human who has to breath in fumes and fan flames to produce roasted snacks for you and respect them buy not being so miserly.
I said earlier that poor people are kind. Rich people are kind too. Rich people who are poor and lowly in spirit, who have a humble and generous nature.
So, whether you are rich or poor, be truly kind. It is an important element of life and good living!