Friday, March 23, 2007

The dark side of the big city

Of course, living in a big city is hard, dirty and stressful. I have it pretty good; I found work relatively easily and earn enough to enjoy a decent quality of life. But every day here, I see beggars on the streets, migrants doing the jobs that no native would stoop to; and the stupidly huge gap between the super-wealthy and the dirt poor and struggling horrifies me.

There are some people who manage to make the most of their circumstances and maintain a sense of pride, which is humbling to witness. The elevator man at my work is a lovely Ghanian with a voice like Louis Armstrong and a smile like Pelé. Last Christmas, the girls I work with and I bought him a pudding for the festive season. In return, he gave us each a drawing of the plants that are dotted around the building at work, with a heartfelt message about how much he loves nature and always takes time to appreciate it.

That man shines with inner joy and peace, and he passes it on to everyone who brushes by him on a busy morning, numbed though they are to the suffering of the wider world.

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