Monday, October 30, 2017

Happiness, and a Bag of Rice




He told me he dreamed, as a little nomad sleeping by the fire under the stars in a village in Kenya, of a bigger life than seemed possible. But he shone brightly, and worked hard, and he began to rise, from school to higher education, assisted by scholarships. Then, he made a desperate push, hanging on by a thread,  to complete his degree. His positivity never faltered. I asked him  what motivated him to strive so hard. He replied, "Poverty." Unlike any poverty I ever knew, in this first world of excess across the sea. He would try to take home a few dollars, when he returned home every Christmas, and said his mother would praise him to the skies and thank him for his help. He told me  a Christmas story, laughing, of when he was a little boy, coming in the door expecting his mother to be cooking rice, which they ate only at Christmas. He found her cooking vegetables. There was no money for rice that year. And he cried. He said, "Mum and I laugh about it now." It was almost Christmas time again, and it occurred to me, "How much can a bag of rice cost, anyway?" That Christmas he carried home a bag of rice, rubber shoes for his siblings, and a special gift for his mother. He said there were cries and ululations, and that his brothers' and sisters' eyes shone in the firelight. He said, "Thank you, Koko," but truly, it was I who was grateful, for it was the best gift I ever gave, and the most meaningful.

Sometimes happiness
is as simple as a bag 
of rice from a friend.


for Toni's prompt at dVerse: Kindness, an act of kindness received or given. This memory of several years back came to mind. In this case, the kindness went both ways, and our hearts have stayed close. (p.s. That little nomad boy is now a member of the Legislature in Kenya! Still shining. Smiles.)


14 comments:

  1. Poverty sets the environment for a gift that brings happiness. I liked the haiku portion showing how simple happiness can be.

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  2. Loved your haiku. How simple and true!

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  3. Meaningful. Loved the narrative and the haiku. And that lone tree on the horizon. Poignant.

    I haven't posted anything new, just came by to get some poetry back into my soul, and star dreamers are the best people to visit for that.
    πŸ•―πŸ•―πŸ•―πŸŒΊπŸŒΊπŸŒΊπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

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  4. Beautiful haiku, and a lovely story.

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  5. Poverty is tough. In the area where I teach there is a large number of families under the poverty line. That said, I have seen much worse poverty overseas compared to our "poverty" line. That aside - food is a huge gift - especially for those that do not have. It is like water, a necessity of life and it does make you happy to have a full belly...or even one that just does not ache with hunger.

    Going away to work so you can send back what little money you make is a very real reality for people. In Nepal, it often is going away to the military or a foreign police force.

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  6. Our expectations follow our means, or so the research says. The poor, on gaining money, have their lack of satisfaction climb with it. It is good to be reminded how silly our minds are.

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  7. ...and conversely the haiku could read "happiness is a bag of rice FOR a friend". The joy is so often in the giving. Lovely story, Sherry!

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  8. I am happy that your generosity meant a lot for him and his family. Sometimes these small things (for us) are a big deal for poor families. And I have seen poverty first hand; so I can appreciate these kind gestures. Thanks for joining us Sherry ~

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  9. I apologize for getting to your submission so late. I lost internet (!) yesterday during the prompt and just got it back sometime early this morning. Yes indeed. A bag of rice, treats for a dog...they all mean so much to those who do not have. It doesn't take much to show true kindness.

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  10. This is a wonderful story... so much changes when you can give, and maybe the real kindness are in the way you can get those thankful smiles... no sometimes it's easier to help than at other times...

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  11. Yes!! Just a bag of rice!! Thank you Sherry!

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