Column: The lesson 2020 has taught me

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It is the little things like giving children a meal that can make all the difference.
It is the little things like giving children a meal that can make all the difference.
Farm Images /Contributor

If anything, 2020 had me pausing to reflect over the life I am living. This is the year that made me see the blessing in everything I used to see as a burden.

And every time I went within, I could not help but feel so overwhelmed by the gratitude in my heart.

Many a times, I have had to put an end to complaining rant, ‘there far worse situations people are in right now’ a voice in my head would reprimand me.

People have lost their jobs, their loved ones, their homes, cars - everything they used to know was taken away from them. Who am I to complain? But it is not until you come face to face with a saddening situation that you really get it, that you are more privileged than you think.

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I started thinking about how we can lounge in our oblivion when it is time to do something for someone who needs help.

We often (me included) just feel sorry and sad for the person then move right along like we cannot do something about it. We can do something, always.

There are these two girls in my community, and they are sisters. I am not too sure about their ages but from our guess (my mom and I) they are five and seven-years-old. When you ask them how old they are, they also don’t know because they have never gone to creche or school, they have never had the joy of hearing a mother say, 'happy birthday'. 

From what we heard, they did not have birth certificates and two months ago, a community leader stepped in to assist with the process of getting them identity documents. Bless him. 

My heart breaks every time I see them. If I had my way, I would prefer not to see them because how sad I feel after seeing them. A glance at them, you can almost see the trauma they have been through but they smile regardless.

Their home situation is horrible and well, I recently found out about them because of my five-year-old niece who occasionally visits. I don’t know how they saw her, but they started coming to my house to play as kids easily make friends. My niece comes on weekends, but randomly, on a Tuesday at 9am when children their age are in school, you will hear them banging the lock against the gate asking if my niece wants to play in the yard with them.

Mom and I would continuously tell them that she is not around until a day they came in, stood at the door and said they were there to see us, it was probably just after 10am. It was at that point we realised that we needed to snap out of our ignorance and do something to try and understand their persistent visits.

Children are so honest and in conversation, we realised that when more often than not, when they visit, all they really want is a warm meal and a R1 lollipop or a packet of niknaks thereafter. The smiles on their faces are priceless when they leave.

They are now regular visitors at home and when we don’t see them we actually start asking where they are or call them to come have a meal. We didn’t not even go out of our way to provide this for them, these are things we have and take for granted when in fact, there are those who desperately need them. 

Read more | Here's how to be grateful for what we have

It is no secret that 2020 has been a tough year for many especially those who have lost their jobs and have no source of income. But as they always say, “there is always someone going through far worse than you” or “there is always something to be grateful for” and these girls are a reminder of that.

While you battle with your day-to-day struggles, know that that doesn’t mean that you can’t help anyone who is less fortunate than you and you don’t have to break the bank for it. It is often things that take little effort that make a difference. No matter what you are going through, there is something someone can benefit from your help - whatever it is.

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