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Kinda Kind
16. April 2020 at 00:07
"If you were presented with the option to choose between being right and being kind, choose kind - Unknown. Growing up in the Westlands of Africa, where "Every man for himself, God for us all" is the anthem on the streets and within the four corners of homes, the picture of empathy is as blur as the dotty stars and light bubbles we see after rubbing our eye balls to an itch. Mum says do not go when a stranger beckons in aid. Daddy adds " Everyone is wicked and wants to kill you."

Here I am, a man in tarted clothes asks for a sip of my sachet water to quench his harmattan thirst. Some people say, such instances are orchestrated to exchange one's destiny. Others say, your wealth is traded when you comply. Too many superstitions and concoctions to topple over before listening to one's own voice. My belief tells me to grant his wish and lip a prayer afterwards for protection- the least I can do.

The drum of kindness is beaten differently in our part of the world, Africa. The narrative transcends the physical into the spiritual. For the average Ghanaian, everything is spiritual, but for corruption ("which is as old as Adam" His excellency the former president, John Agyekum Kuffour spelt out in one of his speeches) and lateness, with our 'Ghana-Man-Time' for an excuse. These two, most believe, don't have any spiritual descent. The concept of kindness is rather misunderstood to be more of what you can give, how big you can give or how tangible what you offer is. But minus the 'why', we are only being charitable. The basis of kindness, I believe should therefore be 'I will help you in this situation, because I would also require help if I were in your shoes.'

I took an intentional walk to the bus station with my friend, Lomo. It was quite a distance- roughly 100km away from work. While we were still engraved in conversation, and in the third trimester of our walk, we noticed a need. A gentleman was stranded in heavy traffic with his pregnant wife in the passenger seat. He bumped the bonnet in frustration after several checks whilst the approaching vehicles honked, screeching their tyres into the second lane. We jogged over to him within the traffic to be of help. For a second, he was very guarded. Of course, anyone would do same, as it rarely happens for some strangers to pop up from nowhere just to assist a fellow without evil intentions lumped somewhere within their white matter. 

"The world is a very dangerous place, my boy!!" Grandma's typical scare of an advice. Puberty told us to man up anyway! We signaled the oncoming vehicles with hand waves and shouts, to track into the next lane so we could push the car to a start. A black Benz Kompressor for the record, an early 20's model; not the kind to start on a single push. 1, 2, 3... Jeez it's not weekend yet? The Ga gods must be snoring by now. Thought I heard a crack at my back seconds before the Mercedes resurrected. At least we pinched a smile unto three strangers' faces. The baby kicked. Beads of salty sweats scarred our foreheads as they blessed us and bid a graceful goodbye, calling us 'angels' on driving off. 

Kindness is the currency everyone can pay. Affordable to the Chinese, the Hindu, the Irish, the Ghanaian, everyone. Kindness is giving others a sense of belonging, fueled with love. It resides in the little acts we do, the intangible dots of love and has nothing to do with religion or rusty ideologies. This is what Dalai Lama meant by saying "There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." He understood that kindness is not borne out of any religion or faith, but it is a religion on its own; simple, affordable and well defined.

Cite This Article As: Christopher Tawiah-mensah. "Kinda Kind." International Youth Journal, 16. April 2020.

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