Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, March 3, 2008

Everything We Have

"We have too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them."
-Abigail Adams

"Tell your husband that he can even give us everything he has, everything."
This Friday past, to my disbelief I found myself speaking to one of our less elusive neighbours.
I had returned from checking our post box and she raced downstairs to catch me before I was swallowed up again by the mouth of my apartment- such is how we live our isolated lives.
She, an African lady, held a piece of paper in her hands. Clearly she was anxious to relay an urgent message to me.
With my key halfway into the lock, I turned to greet her.
She explained that she was collecting items to send to the homeless and broken people in Kenya, the ones displaced as a result of the recent political crisis.
She begged me to seek out anything in my home that I could spare whether it be utensils, clothes or food. Even money, she added, would help.
She repeated over and over: anything, everything, anything.
Then she advised me, in fragmented but sincere English, that I ought to ask my husband as well- that he could give everything he had. Everything.
I liked that a lot, especially considering our most recent feeling toward material possessions.
I liked, too, that a message can somehow be as clear as a bell even within the awkward confines of a limited grasp on the language.
We two neighbours shook hands and introduced ourselves at long last. I smiled and assured the lady that I would do my best.
It is rare that I meet with such fervour and honesty, such directness. I am sure that desperation pushed her to talk to me, forced her to appeal so openly.
I meant those words: I would help her in any way possible.


Karen Fisher-Alaniz said...

That's fabulous. Do tell though- what did you gather for her? ~Karen (Lavinia from AW)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Hi Karen!
It's very good to see you here. Thanks for looking. You're just in time- I have already written about what I gathered and am, in fact, about to post it :) I really appreciated your comment.

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