Sunday, February 24, 2008

Poem on the Mind

Woke late, a poem on my mind.

Sunday morning. That means late out of bed, and even when it is as beautiful as it is today, still I was late out of bed. Spent some days not getting up with the sun. Bad habit- that of missing the dawn. Some of the best thinking seems to come with the change of night to light.

But Sunday morning has to be in bed. Obvious reasons.

Yes, it was a late night. No, I did not attend the UB40 show.

Was at Mateo’s a good part of the evening.

Mateo’s. It is a favourite for quite a number of people. The football, the crowd, the noise and music, the packing. And the feeling of freedom under the expanse of sky. I think part of the reason the city crowd likes it is the fact that it is not too open. Yes, the bar spills over to the sidewalk and beyond, but then it is like the whole street becomes an extension of the place. With the tall buildings a ‘wall’, confining the view in the distance. I was struck by the way that the deep brown bulk of ‘UCB’ building (Cham Towers) seems to fade into the black blue of the sky. Maybe it is my eyes, but it was a striking sight- the sense of a mammoth building blending into the dark of the night. A bulk barely noticed, more noticed than visible.

The papers?

They are there usual depressive selves.

Why do the stories of the rampart corruption depress? Because they are reported day to day, and everyone knows that nothing will be done about them. Even the most blantant, barefaced, stealing. As long as it is the government that loses.

Check out these headlines in the Monitor. Govt paid Asians twice for properties; Finance pins hopes on police in pay scam. The New Vision is …

One good thing, the rebels in the north have signed a permanent cease fire. What is not so good about it- it is apparently the fourth time that they have signed such a deal. We will wait and see.

Yesterday, at Mateos, was looking at a kid, boy about 10-11 years, lugging round a bathroom scale. He puts it on the ground and whosoever wants steps on it. Payment 100 Uganda shillings per person. About 0.05 USD. (Sorry, I don’t know your ‘cent’ system. Only metric…)

Not the usual street urchin, dirty clothes and all. The clothes were a bit smart, casual like. Shoes on his feet, school socks. Most likely a school going kid who has to work for the family’s needs. Time check, inching to midnight, Saturday.

Yeah, life is rough. I was struck by the thought that my pity is useless to the boy. Yes, some of the guys and girls were definitely cheating him. Not giving him the money, and he was having to beg for it. The whole thing is thinly disguised begging. But remember that the kid is, at that particular moment, surviving. Doing what he can for his family, aiding in the survival game that is so central to life’s continuance. Thinking of that, I found myself saluting him. I did work as a child, true. But I am proud to remember that I did contribute to the survival of my family.

Yes of course, the street urchin’s chances and risks are not optimal. I would like to improve them. I cannot. But I cannot just cripple him with my pity. The strength which he has found to do something to survive is laudable. And instead of pity, I should be happy for him.

Not condescending happy. But acknowledge the fact that, he is a child, in worse conditions than I am, and surviving.

So, the day being so beautiful, I will enjoy it.

Be well, and smile, it is a beautiful day out.

GayUganda

2 comments:

antipop said...

i know. sunday mornings and bed just sound perfect together. anyway, just wanted to say tx for that link(at my blog). that story's very touching. how inhumane are people going to get really? who do we go to if we can not seek out our religious leadders? sucks

Princess said...

About the boy.
Hard-to restrain the pity and cloak the sympathy.
Often-times, the greatest strength you can lend another is the opportunity to fight the battle alone.
Yes, gug, undercurrents intended.

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