I received news (thank you sweet Shiku Kageni) that Peggy is now settled and off the streets. This happened because of the collective action of many people – from talking to her to hosting to caring to coordinating.
This is testament that despite the woes and tribulations of the west, the Kenyan diaspora has the ability to uphold the greatest of Africa’s collectivist cultural values. When people saw the video of Peggy, she became, to many, not just a homeless Kenyan woman, but a sister, a daughter, an aunt, and a mother. This stems from the main collectivist nature that every person is someone’s somebody and when in dire straits that person becomes everyone’s someone, and its everyone’s duty to ensure their needs are met. I’ve heard how the people who helped her went to extraordinary lengths to ensure she got medical care, clothes, a home and whatever else she needed – may goodness follow these people all the days of their lives.
As much as Peggy’s story is that of triumph and togetherness, some people have questioned the genuineness of the helpers and why some people get more help than others, or why their plight gets more publicity than others. Questions like those asked during the Notre Dame donations versus other disasters that happened before or after the fire – the age-old question of motivation behind being helpful and people’s class or status (social and/or economic). I’m not saying those outpourings of love for Peggy and desire to help her were dodgy or egoistic, (although I hear there are no selfless good deeds), but one might wonder why there are so many homeless KenBrits and no one publicises their demise or mobilises actions as quickly. It could be sheer luck or something else – certainly food for thought.
Having said that there are many people who would rather suffer in silence than air their dirty laundry. This is the downside to collectivistic culture – as much as togetherness is encouraged and celebrated, exposing ‘horrible’ secrets is frowned upon and people are raised to feel ashamed or embarrassed for underachieving – any and all extenuating circumstances are undermined. Asking for help is therefore seen as weakness, and more importantly nobody wants to be judged: but chances are people will judge and condemn. Thankfully judgers are a minority, the majority would help with sincerity because in this land of milk and honey, everyone has experienced some sort of trauma which makes us more willing to help sincerely than judge. Everyone will have experienced something along their diaspora journey to be able to relate and would therefore rather help than judge. And the greatest tragedy of all is that it could happen to anyone no matter their class or status.
The greatest joy, no matter what the motivation behind helping, is in the knowledge that someone was in danger and they are now safe, and maybe their story can help another person in similar situation. Their story can serve as a reminder that no one choses to be in dire straits, sometimes things happen beyond our control and there is no shame in reaching out. There are genuine people out there ready to offer their last penny to see someone smile – to them philanthropy is second nature and any rewards from that is God’s touch.
Be kind always.
Elegance and gratitude are the must have attitudes #estarsense