Stories such as Uncle Ben’s Choice by Chinua Achebe and My Father’s Head by Okwiri Oduor fascinate me. These stories put emphasis on the value of love and its effect on human beings.
They also demonstrate how life’s ordinary setbacks can erode affection from people who experience various difficulties.
When people are overwhelmed by major socioeconomic disadvantages, the values of hope and love can be lost and their place taken up by depravity.
Disastrous consequences are inevitable when people turn their backs on human values such as love and empathy.
So hopeless is the society in My Uncle’s Choices that one man runs a kindergarten in his one-bedroom house during the day before converting it into a brothel at night.
In another instance, a woman sells illicit brew that blinds five people in her community.
Lack of love and compassion can be attributed to Simbi’s (main character in My Father’s Head) blurred vision and inability to remember her late father’s face. There's a deficiency of love in this woman’s life.
But by interacting with Father Ignatius, Simbi recollects details about her father, particularly the love he regaled people with –despite suffering from trauma himself. This story highlights the power and beauty of love in our lives. Bwibo captures it even better: “Although everyone has a head behind their face, some show theirs easily: They turn their back on you and their head is all you can see…good men never show you their heads; they show you their faces.”
What a better time to show love to our neighbours than during these trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic! Unemployed people or those who have lost their jobs are hardly able to meet their expenses such as buying food, paying rent and school fees.
Consequently, many parents have developed high blood pressure. Others are struggling with depression, which could escalate to mental health illness.
By striving to help people in such difficult circumstances, we show them love. This compassion goes a long way to reassure them,, to give them hope and even to save their sanity and life.
Put in a little love in your heart. Treat others well. This way, we’ll have a better world for all of us.
Jonathan Korir is a Form Four student at Kapsabet Boys High School. Are you aged 10-20 and would like to be Nation’s young reporter? Email your 400-600-word article to [email protected]