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Bless the hands that give


Christmas is in the air and the barrels of love from families overseas are pouring in. The customs are busy with the increased volume of work to make sure that everyone gets his or her stuff before Christmas. Our families overseas know how important it is to get their gifts of foodstuff, clothing etc. to make the season bright for their love ones. They know that they have to get off the goodies to make sure they arrive before Christmas. By Thanksgiving Day, hundreds of barrels are sent off to ensure an early arrival. They are giving their hearts, but what do they get in return?
Some ranting on social media from disgruntled takers about what to send and what not to send.

Now, be considerate to others. Life is challenging for them just as it is for you. It is a great sacrifice. We do not look a gift horse in the mouth. Everything costs. A barrel load could cost at least $1,000 – that is equivalent to $2,700 in EC currency. Some families start gathering stuff early in the year, and might make a last push at Costco or BJ’s to finish off the barrel.

By the last week in November the barrel must be off. Think about people juggling between packing a barrel and going to work at 7 a.m. and returning perhaps at 7 p.m. Some people must work two jobs or overtime to meet their expenses. The barrel itself could cost $30 and the shipping, US$95.

As soon as a new style hits New York, it reaches SVG. Your family is working overtime to make you look good. A smart phone could cost some US$1,000, yet they get it to you while they continue to use the ten-year-old flip phone. Go easy on them.

Some time ago, Vincentian in the diaspora were accused of doing certain jobs – walk dogs and babysitting, insinuating that these are menial or low paid jobs. There must be pride in whatever you do and whatever you do, must be done to the best of your ability, no matter how humble. Dogs are prized possession and babies are the pride and joy of our lives, the essence of our being. There must be caretakers. The pay is good.

If you want to reach the lofty heights, you must start off in the valleys, unless you have inheritance. Contrary to what was said, Vincentians are in almost every area of endeavour. They are hard workers and they work for their daily bread. Gainfully employed, they do not have to shout it from the mountaintops.

In addition to sending off these barrels, they give back to their own communities. There are so many charities asking for donations and these are everywhere in the church and even in the stores. Sometimes there is a pitiful beggar on the sidewalk and if you are a Matthew 25 Christian, you will be moved.

In the US, rent is expensive especially in the Brooklyn area where many of our people live. A small studio apartment could cost $1,000 per month and then there are costs for utilities. A two bedroom could be between $1,300 and $1,800 per month. When it is not rent, it is mortgage to pay.

So beggars cannot be choosers. If you do not like what you get, give it to someone else. Recycle! God loves a cheerful giver. Be optimistic, maybe you would get what you want next year. It is better to give than to receive. Have a blessed Christmas. A heart full of love for you! Pass on the love everyone.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law. E-mail address is: [email protected]