UBUNTU

Where’s our sense of community?

Most corporates are loudly quiet in coming together to help the government fight Covid-19.

In Summary
  • Have you checked on your neighbour to see if they have enough food?
  • Are you willing to feed those next to you who are hungry, especially if the supply chain is disrupted?

A hunter, not very bold, was searching for the tracks of a lion. He asked a man felling trees in the forest if he had seen any marks of his footprints or knew where his lair was.

“I will,” said the man, “at once show you the lion himself.” The hunter, turning very pale and chattering with his teeth from fear, replied, “No, thank you. I did not ask that; it is his track only I am in search of, not the Lion himself.”

This fable of the hunter and woodman carries the lesson that the hero is brave in deeds as well as words.

Growing up, I remember being sent to the neighbours on numerous occasions to borrow some salt whenever we lacked some in the house, and our neighbours were always willing to help.

In the evenings, one would eat where one was during dinner time and every home always had an extra plate for a hungry neighbour.

Community policing and security was the norm, and you were always your brother’s keeper, ready to protect one another in times of trouble. Parents would take care, and also punish, their own children as well as those of their neighbours.

But looking at how we act today, one wonders where and how we lost our sense of community?

If you look around, the Asian community is strong and vibrant, helping those in need, supporting each other, with many hospitals and institutions created as a community to help the poor.

We have seen Aga Khan Hospital, MP Shah Hospital, Devki Steel Mills, to name but a few, go out of their way to help vulnerable Kenyans. I am yet to see a Mt Kenya-funded hospital or a Nyanza-based company feed the hungry in this time of crisis.

Right now, we should have Safaricom coming up with a Kenyan-designed ventilator that can be manufactured locally, Equity/KCB building makeshift hospitals, Unga Group setting up free food kitchens to help families without food, EPZ companies manufacturing N95 masks, to name but a few.

As we battle Covid-19, most corporates are loudly quiet in coming together to support the government, other than a few such as EABL. At a time when we should see many pooling resources together to give back to the same people who help them make profits, they are all quiet.

Right now, we should have Safaricom coming up with a Kenyan-designed ventilator that can be manufactured locally, Equity/KCB building makeshift hospitals, Unga Group setting up free food kitchens to help families without food, EPZ companies manufacturing N95 masks, to name but a few.

Have you checked on your neighbour to see if they have enough food? Are you willing to feed those next to you that are hungry and especially if we get to a point where the supply chain is disrupted?

The world is closing down and soon, we will be on our own. All we will have is each other and we must start thinking of how we will support each other when push comes to shove.

There are many Kenyans who are already suffering from the slowdown resulting from the ongoing crisis. Children who relied on feeding programmes in school are now relying on the little that their parents can make.

As Governor Alfred Mutua posited, why haven’t our scientists and professors locked themselves somewhere with a goal to come up with a coronavirus vaccine? Or are we waiting for one to be made and sent to us at prices that may be unreachable by many?

Instead of looking within ourselves for homegrown solutions, we are waiting for the government to rescue us, and then run to social media to criticise every step that is taken.

This is the time for us to unite and show the world what Kenyan innovation looks like, and the positive effects of all Kenyans coming together to unite as one community to fight the virus.

As a country, we must think about the future and what it holds for all of us plus what we can do right now to secure it. We will need each other in the future and it is therefore important that we take care of each other today.