Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | July 22, 2009
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Empathy isn't just emotion, it's action

Eight-year-old Nia Earl teaches a young boy at the Musgrave Children's Home how to operate a remote toy car at the facility's Lady Musgrave Road, St Andrew, compound, on Saturday. Sharon Wiles, assistant manager of the home, looks on. Nia and her parents, who reside in the United States, were on an annual visit to the island. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Hi Neighbour! To sit here encouraging people to look out for their neighbours, I must admit, is not the easiest task but it is very rewarding. People are actually taking me on and helping their neighbours! Could I ask for more? Yes.

While I am thankful to readers who tell me they enjoy this weekly column, I urge them to join in and put a little joy in a neighbour's life. There are neighbours who enjoy nothing because they are always feeling the pinch and are not so sure how to avoid it. Some of them have simply missed their way and need a hand or a word to guide them back to the right path. Some are victims of circumstances while others are being rewarded for their foolish decisions. Whatever their reality, let's not ignore them.

We are all members of an imperfect human family living in an imperfect world where mistakes are manufactured daily. And so the Master said, "Love your neighbour as yourself," barring none. Your love, my love and love for the other is an antidote placed here to help fix our man-made problems and correct our serious mistakes.

The more I examine the principle, 'love thy neighbour as thyself', the more convinced I am that people who live by it will always enjoy a better quality of life. The principle affirms and encourages philanthropy.

Some persons are reluctant to be neighbourly because 'if yuh too kind, people will take advantage of yuh'. By no means am I saying that we should expose ourselves to exploitation and abuse. Conscience and common sense should guide us as we reach out to others!

Sandra (not her real name) was merely doing what she considered the neighbourly thing to do when she was helping out a friend in crisis. This friend had lost her job and could no longer pay her way. Sympathetic to her plight, Sandra took her under her wings as though she were her own relative. She provided her with free living accommodation and convinced her employers to employ her friend, even if it meant cutting Sandra's pay.

Her friend did so well on the job that within a year she was running her own department. Within three years Sandra's ambitious friend left the job to set up her own business which is still doing well today. As time passed, Sandra fell on hard times. Can you guess who is now standing by her with financial support? The very friend she assisted.

Help some neighbours

To help, please call 906-3167, 884-3866 or 373-7745 or send email to: neighbourtoo@yahoo.com and we will make the link. Those who desire to make financial donations to this project may make deposits to Acct # 351 044 276 at the National Commercial Bank. Bank routing number: JNCBJMKX

1. Tameika, mother of two, is in need of a bed for children. Children's father passed away recently and she is finding life very challenging.

2. Sister Montague, Kingston: Was burnt out of her home two years ago and is still trying to recover. She's in need of a mattress, etc.

3. Twenty-three-year-old widow with two children needs to do an MRI. She has no money or assistance from relatives and is appealing for financial help.

4. Mrs Thompson, Kingston: 81-year-old neighbour, whose house was completely destroyed by fire in 2007. Still trying to get back on her feet, she's asking neighbours for assistance in acquiring a gas cylinder and regulator.

5. Ms Hopkins, St Catherine: Unemployed mother of two boys who suffered serious back injury and is now unable to work. She's asking neighbours for assistance in acquiring a fan for her two boys who are suffering with asthma, especially during the hot summer.

6. Ms Johnson, St Catherine: Mother of four, with no father to give support, is seeking to generate an income through the use of a washing machine by providing a laundry service to persons within and around her community; she's asking for a second-hand washing machine.

7. Shauna, St Catherine: a 22-year-old young woman who pursued sewing in school is asking for a sewing machine to generate an income for her younger brothers and sisters as her parents are unemployed.

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