A HELPING HAND? By Mwania Mutungi

(Last Updated On: July 23, 2015)

As I was walking to town to get myself some lunch some day in town, I met an elderly man who tried to stop me.
“Kijana, ebu simama kidogo”
(Young man, can you spare me a moment?)
Immediately, thoughts were racing in my mind.
“What does this man want from me? Is he going to ask for money, fare, Lunch…? What now does he want from me?”
I am not offering any present for correctly guessing what I did. You are right. I went past him as if it were none of my business. I had moved not more than two steps than my actions started haunting me. What if he is lost, and has seen someone he thinks might help him? Why only me and there are other people walking in the same route? Only this and a few others I can’t recall passed my mind, and they made me think really hard. I pondered this as, I walked the Nairobi style: Heads up, focused, shuffling my feet as fast as I could, to pass this person a head of me, whom it seems they have no idea that I want to reach my destination in no time.
Well, lets’ take a break here. How many times have you done this? Be honest. Yeah! There you are I was sure I wasn’t alone. This isn’t the first time I did this, and whether it is the last time or not, I dare not say, for am not sure.
Lets’ take some time here, and examine what I did. What you do. What we do. What would have happened if I had stopped, and offered my assistance (read help) where possible? I would have listened to someone’s problems and needs, and probably I would have understood. I would most likely, in the case of financial need or assistance, have sent him away with some sweet words to soothe his troubled mind – remember that I am surviving on a student loan. He would have felt less lonely in this city of ours, full of busy-ness.
Last year, a friend of mine-lets’ call him Ken, was approached by two men. One was a helper to his mate who was blind-or supposedly blind, as we shall see. One of them asked Ken the directions to a stage to catch a bus to go to a certain hospital in the city. Patiently, I suppose [I know him to be one of those lovely and patient souls, unlike me as of now] he gave them the directions to the stage. As a show of courtesy, they thanked him gratefully, or so it seemed to be, and they shook hands in turns. The next moment, Ken found himself wandering around Koja Bus stage. No wallet, nothing in his pockets, no bag, no jacket. Does it sound similar to someone’s experience, or you are a victim?
These are the stories and experiences that stop us in our tracks the moment a stranger seeks for help. We always scare away, having no idea whether they are genuinely in need or not. With the rise of professional beggars and thieves that take advantage of our good intentions to help, we are scared to even think about giving our time to listen to anyone who wants to seek help from us.
I am not master in giving solutions to these social problems that we have today, but I ask some questions that need a genuine answer. What are you supposed to do when a stranger seeks for help? Stop and assist, at the risk of being robbed, or walk away, leaving someone in need even more broken and feeling maligned? Assuming that the famous WWJD- What Would Jesus Do, what would you do?
Ask a friend today.

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