HARARE – Learning is an ongoing process.
Last week, my son in grade two refused to go to school until he had something to give to the teacher.
He said “I want to donate my sports shorts to some children whose parents are dead”.
I asked him why and he told me they had been told about the story of a man called Jairos Jiri who helped the destitute, half-naked, blind and disabled beggars on streets.
As I listened to the young innocent soul making his case, I was struck by the power of the works of this great hero.
So powerful that young children can have so much compassion for the less privileged in society, they can donate their Christmas presents and feel the pain of having no parents and suffering daily from hunger.
The name Jairos Jiri has assumed a profound meaning in Zimbabwean society today. It is a name that has stood the test of time, it is legendary.
Today his example is inspiring younger generations.
His example is more relevant in today’s “me only” and “only me” — a world that is fast sliding into indifference and has become uncaring.
A world where poverty and disease are rampant, a world where young children are at the mercy of the adults who should take care of them, a world where pain is more readily available and mercy is being traded at exorbitantly inflated prices.
Caring for, living with and loving one another are expensive and extinct commodities.
They are way beyond the reach of many; most people with everything money can buy cannot even afford them.
Those who have what it takes care less to make a difference in people’s life; they mock the spirit of Jiri.
It is not a surprise why the affluent are mean. Jiri’s life as a school dropout and later a garden boy speaks volumes about who should champion the lives and aspirations of the downtrodden in society.
Is it not those who experience hardships who know better and can deal with it comprehensively?
If that is the case, can the elite who swim in pools of fortune have the answers to the plight of those at base of stock?
Are we seeing an upside down arrangement of things here?
Of course it is the norm the world over that poverty alleviation strategies are created by people who are not experiencing it.
The results are there for everyone to see. Poverty and destitution have remained the world’s foremost problems for many centuries now.
If we look at the global failure to deal with poverty we may as well get discouraged and do nothing.
Why would one continue to fight when they are sure of losing?
It will be pointless, but Jiri never saw things in such a way. He wanted to do something with whatever he had and today his example has withstood the test of time.
His life was lived for others and as such we can emulate it today in whatever way we can with what we have.
In Zimbabwe today, just how many people are failing to have a decent meal?
In your community you can help such people with whatever you have and that will make a difference in their lives. Heroes are not born, they do heroic acts.
Do you want to be a living hero? If your answer is yes then do something for others in whatever way you can.
If you want to follow Jiri then do not do something to seek attention or cheap publicity, just do a good thing and the world will take note.
He is the finest, true and selfless hero who has left an enduring legacy.
The challenge for all of us is to emulate Jairosi Jiri in words and deeds.
Let’s give and enable, let’s not monopolise and consolidate while excluding others.
Make history, do not read history.