My grandmother seldom speaks of times being easier back in the day. Times have always been tough in the developing world, and my grandmother is one of the toughest that ever got going. Instead she speaks of a time when people were nicer, driven less by greed and more by kindness: a time when neighbours were more than just people you shared a fence with. They were friends and helpers.
I’ve heard the same lament from others: what ever happened to the days when the neighbourhood would take care of someone who was ill – bring them soup, help out with chores? What happened to the stranger who would help you out in a bind and expect nothing in return?
Sometimes when Grandma talks, I can only sit and listen in wonder. I can’t suspend my disbelief long enough to appreciate that people in real life actually performed random acts of kindness. My aunt will be quick to retort that those things happened once upon a time, yes, but times and people have changed.
The world is no longer the same place where villages raise children. Unless you count the village of social media. And in worsening economic times, perhaps it is not so much greed that drives us but the need for financial security and a fear of being taken advantage of. This is Jamaica, after all, where financial schemes run rampant and “get rich quick” is the mantra on everyone’s mind.
Times have changed, as they inevitably do, and they have dragged us kicking and screaming into a new age of desperation and difficulties. But dark times do not destroy the light, they define it.
It may be harder to find happiness here, but maybe their glasses just need stronger prescriptions.
Part Two of a two-part post on the inertia of our humanity. Read part one here.