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Picha

He gives alms for his old mother in the village

I have always admired these means for a livelihood, but really, it is people with a physical disability that my heart always goes out to. Earlier this week, as I left my house and took a bus as usual downtown to work, I did not know I would again come across such a sympathetic incident.

When we got to Bibi Titi Street at the city centre, the bus violated a road traffic order of keeping in line by pulling out of it and speeding to plunge into a space between cars somewhere well ahead.

That put it on a wrong lane. If our driver thought his ruse would give him advantage over the other drivers, he was wrong, for they were just too smart for him and closed every gap ahead as he tried to nudge his bus into it. We were all waiting for the green light.

So he lost the chance twice as the green light came and went. As things were, we were lucky to take much longer to reach our destination than we would have if our driver had remained on the right lane.  Eventually though, the driver got a Good Samaritan in another driver, who must have sympathized with him in the pathetic position he had put us all in. As the green light came and as the bus in front of him took off, the Good Samaritan remained still to create a gap of us.

Our driver took the chance, got the outer lane to take us to our destination, but the lights turned red before we could take the corner and we remained caught up again in the traffic.  As we waited, I saw a blind young man, seated by the roadside. He had heard the bus come to a standstill, got up and came to the cars on the road.

I had seen him before at the same place, placing his hand by a car's window for a coin from a kind heart in the vehicle. This time I saw him start with the car at the front and swept backwards towards our bus. 'Help! Help!' he said, his hand stretched out with the palm open. He remained  there, still,  for a long moment.

There were several vehicles in front of us. I saw him approach and judging by his speed, I knew the green light would come before he reached our bus and I knew there must be someone who wanted to give him some money. He got to our bus as the green light came and swept his open hand along the windows with his  sympathetic plea of 'saidia'.

A man two seats in front of me and seated by the window placed a coin in his palm. The bus was beginning to move when he reached my window. I was just in time to put a 200/-coin in his hand. I had seen what the man in front of me had done, but he had not seen what I had done. On the seat between the Good Samaritan two seats ahead and me was a man who found it hard to keep quiet about his disinclination to give charity to the disabled.

"Why did you give him money?" he turned and asked the man in front of me. "People like him depend on us to live," the Good Samaritan answered. "But there are many like him, who earn a living with an honest and industrious living."

"I think you did it out of the religious belief some people have that God rewards them for giving charity to the disabled." The Good Samaritan answered and said that the blind man's disability was part of the reason he gave him money. But the stone-hearted man wanted to know how God rewarded such deeds of charity.

"My mother back in the village upcountry is eighty years old," the kind man said. "She is all alone, her husband having died some years ago. In short, she is at the mercy of her fellow villagers. What I do to others out in the city here also pulls down God's grace upon her. For I believe,  any good deed I perform towards others, brings a blessing to me and my old mother in the village."

That remark opened a debate within the bus. No doubt impressed by the Good Samaritan's remark, another passenger, a lady this time, observed aloud: "When a man runs amok and kills people like one recently did in Italy, some people say that he has killed innocent people. But the killer's action could be avenging some relative of his by killing other people's relatives."

It was shocking and to hear how distant happenings can be connected, prompting an evil act in response. It was also interesting to hear that a good deed some time ago to someone else could bring one some good luck. A murmur rolled within the vehicle that every good we do or the evil we do, is rewarded right here on earth for the body and soul to get their deserved repayment.

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Author: LAWI JOEL

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