SHORT STORIES

Dilemma

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Today on my way back from work, it started raining heavily, so it was a slow drive home. Just as I reached the highway, I saw a woman with a baby strapped on her back, they were fully drenched as there was no place for her to take cover, and even though for years, I have made peace with not giving strangers lifts since after my last encounter where one of the people I once helped made away with some of my belongings, yet I was greatly troubled by that sight.

I suppose there are turning points in all our lives. Sometimes we learn a lot from them, other times we just feel a lot of regret. These things might haunt us; keep on coming back to us, reminding us of that regrettable situation that made us disappointed in our self and people around us, but it should not define us or change our perception of right and wrong.

I remember it like it was just yesterday, I had just left the hospital after visiting a sick friend and as I was driving out, I noticed the clutter of people stopping me for a lift, so I did them the favour as I have always done before. They were three of them two ladies and a young man, they didn’t look like thieves and were all decently dressed, we even had a discussion on the state of our hospitals and negligence of the health workers, little did I know that between our candid talk and laughter, I was been robbed.

I got home and, took my hand bag out but, lo and behold my laptop and wallet was AWOL! I felt betrayed as the obvious dawned on me, it was difficult to understand at first, I literally felt a strong pain on my back like I was stabbed at the back with a very sharp knife. It was even more confusing for me since I didn’t know what I did wrong to warrant such payback.

You need to see my mum’s face when I told her, her advice as she pulled my ears and yelled out my native name “Chibummamu” times are evil please be careful today it was your laptop, tomorrow only God knows what. Biko! She lamented again in my native tongue Stop o you are not mother Theresa!

I did heed her advice for years until now. I actually drove past the woman at first but seeing that baby on her back froze me up. I couldn’t go any further so I just braked, reversed, parked and stayed there. I watched from my rear view mirror, I can see the baby crying and the woman fast approaching my car, it made my heart beat faster than usual.I learnt something new that day **Sometimes it doesn’t take as much strength to do things as it does to decide what to do.**

I knew if I didn’t help this woman and her baby, I will be doing more harm than good, besides that, I didn’t what regret to lay over me like guilt; I just couldn’t so I unlocked the car for her all the while murmuring out loud sorry mum and God help me. I quickly put on the heater and told her to reach behind and get my gym bag out; I always have towels there so she can dry her baby. Luckily for her she had a change of clothe in the baby’s bag that was not wet. She was so very grateful judging by all the prayers and blessing she showered on me. I was very pleased when I dropped them off at a proper bus stop and in case you are wondering, yes! nothing was stolen.

When I got home, I just could not help but ask:

How does one remain a good citizen in a very bad society?

Can we live with the challenges of doing the right thing when it may cost us more than we anticipated?

When I think of the Aluu 4, victims, who were subjected to ‘jungle justice’ by an angry mob and ultimately set ablaze, I ask myself, is it possible that it was a general consensus? And nobody had a different opinion? How in the world is ‘immoral justice’ an approach to unethical behaviour?

What will make a driver knock down a human being and speed off and why will others watch him bleed to death without offering help all because we are afraid of police wahala.

Will good really triumph over evil with our “wait-and-see” attitude?

Why would we choose self-aggrandizement over promoting goodwill?

Why do we hope and pray for a better tomorrow and yet empower shady politicians with our votes. Can you eat your cake and have it?

How do the bombings and killings of innocent citizen perpetrated by terrorists in order to change some form of government be seen as right, when we all know that the noblest intention cannot make an intrinsically evil action a good action.

I know many of my friends who are skeptical of sending clothing or money to the village for fear of it been used against them for rituals etc. Some of us don’t even eat in our friends’ houses anymore. We are now crippled by fears in our society and sequentially that has put a hold on good deeds.

Do we now live comfortably in a society that does not value cares, relationships and empathy, have we lost our sense of right and wrong? The fact that we live in a society in which humanist resolutions have not provided answers to the dysfunctional aspects of life, does not mean that we as individual should throw caution to the wind. Lest we forget, it is the people that make the society and not the other way round.

Yes I do agree that not knowing which path to take can be agonizing, but nothing is more demoralising than never making a choice, a right choice.

If you never choose a road, you will never know where it leads.

So when you’re faced with two similarly good choices, do not be one of those who choose the third option: to not choose.

Tenets of decency, integrity and what is noble and right are not to be trampled upon. Morals are more than just following a set of rules; it is a part of a deeply-held belief system that makes-up the core of a society.

It is worth defending.

It is worth walking out in courage and making some personal sacrifices.

Oscar Wilde puts it,“no man is rich enough to buy back his past”

(Let’s do the right thing just because it is the right thing to do for there is no right way of doing the wrong thing)

Vivian Belford is a lover of God and all the good things life can offer, a girly girl who believes in having fun with whatever she does. She is currently starring in her own reality show titled, Living and Dying With a Smile! Her Mantra: *Put on some lip gloss,pour yourself a drink, sit back and have a really good laugh!* The world is one big comedy afterall!!!!

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