This week, Charli Mills over at the Carrot ranch has given us the concept of healing America for her Flash Fiction Challenge. You can read her lovely post and join in the fun here: https://carrotranch.com/2017/08/18/august-17-flash-fiction-challenge-2/#respond. I gave this some thought and, as I have never even been to America, I decided that I couldn’t solve the problems of America, or the larger world for that matter. I can, however, share my thoughts on healing as they relate to poverty and hunger which is something I see almost daily and which is becoming a bigger problem and of greater concern every day.
The paragraph that follows and also the poem, were inspired by a little boy that I used to see every day on my way to work. He would be strapped with a blanket to his Mother’s back in the traditional South African manner. I used to give his Mother a tin of food a couple of times a week and I would often buy a biscuit or sweetie for the child. One day they disappeared and I have never seen them again.
Breaching the gap
The children in the car were laughing as they guzzled chicken pops and drank large Cokes.
It was the last day of school and the children were gleefully looking forward to the holiday.
From his position on his mother’s back, a pair of luminous, dark eyes watched through the window. There would be no holiday for him as his Mother continued her daily toil to put food in their bellies.
The children were oblivious of his stare. All except for one boy.
He opened his window and handed his food and drink to the toddler.
Both smiled with pleasure.
This same child inspired the following poem which I shared earlier this year. It is one of my favourites and fits so well with this post that I thought I would share it again.
The beggar’s child – a poem
At the traffic light she stands;
On her back, a small boy;
His eyes round; deep black;
In a wizen face, bereft of joy.
What thoughts cross his mind?
As he observes in his childish way;
The endless traffic that passes by;
Throughout each and every long day.
Their well-fed occupants flash by;
Their faces just at his line of sight;
What feelings in him are aroused?
As they ignore his desperate plight.
Does it make him feel invisible?
Unwelcome in this troublesome life;
Does it develop into feelings of despair?
As their complacency cuts like a knife.
The cards he has been dealt, provide;
few opportunities to improve and learn;
How frustrating to watch the world pass by;
Knowing it will never be your turn.
If we want to see real change and difference;
We must start to recognise and right;
The casualties of poverty and indifference;
Even if our individual contribution is slight.
by Robbie Cheadle
Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town