Thursday, 9 December 2010
Somewhere in the Heart of Africa, 3rd of July
Keeta stirred. Her stomach hurt. She hadn’t eaten for days or was it a week? She couldn’t remember anymore. Several flies buzzed around her and her three sisters and brother all huddled together in their tiny shack. Someone in the corner coughed so hard, it seemed their lungs would explode.
A few rays of sunshine invaded the wooden shack through a big crack in the roof. It was almost noon but she was too weak to move. The memory of her last meal had almost faded. She and her four siblings had shared a measly roasted dry dove which Baba had killed. There had been nothing else after that.
Keeta slowly licked her top lip - letting her tongue move slowly across it moistening her chapped dry lips, whose cracks resembled the cracks of a dry dessert. Maybe today would be different. Some of the others said the trucks might come today. Keeta didn't want to hope too much. Last time she had hoped that they would come and they didn't.
She had waited and waited.
Later she had heard Baba discussing with his friend that The Aid Organisation had run out of funds. The Aid trucks usually brought bags of supplies and big fat men and women would unload food, water and sometimes they had these special things called medicines which helped you feel better. Keeta had never seen people like those big fat men. Their skin always seemed to glow and they were always smiling. Keeta supposed if she was fat and had a glowing skin she would smile as well.
Nobody she knew smiled much. Everyone she knew was thin and bony.
Everyone moved slowly and never said much.
She shifted again.
The pain in her stomach was almost unbearable now. She closed her eyes hoping that maybe she could miraculously go to sleep and forget the pain and misery ruling her life.
A thousand miles away
5th Avenue - New York, 3rd of July
Mandy looked at the price tag again. $1 250 for a pair of shoes? “Tiana this is too expensive. Why don’t we look for something cheaper?”
“Why? You can afford it,” Tiana said pouting like a goldfish.
“Yes, but just because we can afford it doesn’t mean we should buy it. Do you realise that there are people in other parts of the world that don’t even have a crumb of bread to eat? You don’t realise how lucky you are.”
“What do you want me to do mum? I can’t feed the whole world.”
“Maybe not, but it’s kind of like the story about eating an elephant. You don’t attack the whole beast. But you do it bit by bit. You start off by helping one person at a time. If you help someone and the next person also helps someone else, before you know it all of us would have helped so many people.”
Tiana rolled her eyes indignantly, “Eeeew, elephant is certainly not on my menu for today so forget that. Anyway mum someone else can help all those poor people, I mean does it have to be me?”
Mandy merely stared at the monster of a child she had created. There was no twinkle in her eyes except when she was getting something new which would inevitably find its way to the back of the wardrobe unworn and forgotten. This scenario had replayed itself so many times in their lives, it was beginning to grate on her.
“Right, I’ve made up my mind, I like these heels and besides all the other ones are far too common. I want something that will,” Tiana paused as she thought for a moment, “ something which will make a fashion statement. I want people to think wow, that girl’s shoe rocks.”
Mandy sighed. It was mostly her fault that Tiana had turned out this way. She had spoilt her from the time she was born and no surprise she was so used to having her own way without an ounce of consideration for the next person. She could only hope that someday she would learn to empathise and find greater meaning to life than getting this, getting that and more getting. Hopefully she would eventually realise that there was more to life than a shoe that rocks.