Recently, activity began on the uncompleted buildings and empty plot of land around our house. It was as if the owners agreed by mutual consent to start building! Are they taking advantage of the lack of rain for now? I wonder.
Anyway, as I watched this activity for weeks from my bedroom window it occurred to me that there is something I am supposed to see from what I am seeing but I couldn’t readily grasp it! However yesterday morning, it hit me! It is this thing called 'choice.'
The workers arrive every morning; I watch them chatter as they lift cement and blocks. I watch when, at the end of the day, they wash their feet and change, then stand around for the supervisor to pay them after which they hitch up their bags and leave; the end of another day. Their lives are ‘so simple’, yet not so. One would think it works great for them because they get paid daily, although how much they are paid is not, for the moment, relevant. I try to imagine the kind of responsibility each one may be carrying: wife, children, mother, siblings, sick relatives, what? I wonder if any of them are actually graduates…(it is Naija, and here, anything is possible).They spend hours each day carrying, heaving, dumping, dropping, shoveling, building...how about rest? How about health? Although I concede it is great exercise for the body, but sorry, I would gladly keep my ‘lack of exercise’ and not involve myself in such hard labour, because I have a choice, you see.
How many of them have been thrown into this because they have none, or so it seem? Can we honestly blame the lack of opportunities, broken down infrastructures, bad economy, etc for this? In a way, yes but I don’t totally agree.
Looking at this innocent and normal activity I ask myself if any one of the bricklayers is wondering why he is not the guy who drives in and sits in the Land Cruiser watching others work, or why he is not the guy who supervises and pays them at the end of the day. Does he ask himself why he is the one balking under the weight of cement and block-carrying, often in the hot sun, sweating? The power to decide which of this three we are is firmly within our grasp. Even God says He has set before us life and death, but advises: ‘choose life…’ it’s an advice, it is not by force.
Who or what decides our emotional state? Who determines the tone of our day, our lives? Whatever situation we find ourselves: emotionally, physically, career, life, finances, relationship etc, is a direct result of decisions taken consciously or unconsciously, wittingly or unwittingly, good judgment or bad judgment. I am of the school of thought that there is always a way, we only need to find it. Often when I succeed at trying to do something, especially on the Internet (as I am not much of a browser, even if I say so myself), I am filled with such a sense of achievement I sit back with a satisfied smile, smirk at the computer and say, I found 'The Way!' Loool.
On another (though related) note, I honestly wish we could have a come-back at vocational training centers where people learn handiwork. Because of our (often bad) experiences with artisans, we tend to regard them with such disappointment, even though their ‘area of expertise’ is a ‘necessary evil’. But think about a scenario where they are properly trained, not just to offer their services but to do so with professionalism! If that were the case, would watching a couple of bricklayers pose a scenario that would wring a post out of me? I wonder…
Be Free. Be free. Be Free Oh!