I have heard the word philanthropy being thrown around here and there and I haven’t quite had an opportunity to do research on what it really means. When describing someone it sounds cool. It is an adjective reserved for the who is who among world billionaires with an inclination to charity and lending society a hand. A philanthropist refers to a person who makes an active effort to promote human welfare according to a definition somewhere.
I believe human beings were designed to be selfless in actions and deeds. I have always thought that the world would be a better place if only we would care more, criticize less but correct more and lend a hand in places we could. Growing up I was taught that we should be mindful of the needs of others most importantly being how they feel. I have taken up the lesson in the few years I have been around but I think my naivety has made me believe that selflessness is a possible virtue that we should all struggle towards.
Over time, the human race has metamorphosed into one identified by self centeredness, selfish desires and ultimate disregard of others within and beyond immediate circles of influence. The cause for this I can’t immediately point out but nonetheless it has robbed us of our humanity – a trait that was meant to distinguish us from other primates.
Ultimately, I believe all is not lost. The reason I am so convinced of this is that I have met a person whose beliefs challenge everything I have argued out above. She is a person more interested in making others smile than she is about her own giggle. She keeps telling me that she doesn’t like losing people. In her own words, she will do everything to maintain if not better the relationships that currently exist in her life. She is a kind soul, full of life and an enthusiast.
I met her blindly. The first thing that drew me to her was a blog that a friend suggested I should visit. I love staring into people’s thoughts and blogs are the best way to do that. It was epic and ‘hot’ in every sense. It was mind boggling in that it stretched my imagination to places that will take decades to get back from.
The inscriptions there were as sensuous as the chic herself thanks to a photo of her on the landing page. I stared at that photograph several minutes trying to envisage what went through her head as she wrote those awesome pieces. I asked myself what it took to be that good at writing and specifically the evolution that someone had to undergo to be such a great poet. She was good. She is still awesome. I had a thousand and one questions for her as I sifted through the pieces she had put together but I just left one comment after reading over 10 of her poems.
After that one time, it became a habit and one day I wrote her an email, we exchanged numbers and to date I visit the blog ever so often.
We arranged a meeting and met over coffee. I chose a table by the balcony so that I could see the street below and the people hurrying back home after daily hustles. It was an interesting conversation. I was trying to read into her mind to understand her but I couldn’t. I still haven’t. She is an adventure, in that she always writes the unexpected.
When am trying to divide my income between a guiness and black label, she is thinking about school fees for the girl she is supporting. Not to forget that she has her own education, upkeep and other expenses to take care of. To cap it all up, she has to keep some color aside for the children home visits that she does every last weekend of the month. Who in their early 20s is thinking about a stranger’s fee balance? Sometimes, she tells me that it’s all she can do to give back.
Her acts of kindness make her different. That sounds so cliché but it’s the simple truth. She has taken a dissimilar approach to life that puts more emphasis on what’s happening outside and around her than the selfish approach that’s self centered.
I sit back and tell myself that if we had more people like Hansy, the world would be calmer, more approachable and warmer. She reminds me of the words of Humphry Davy that life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.