I attended a cousin's burial, in line with my cultural teaching as well as moral responsibility. Above all, I was driven by the great love I have for this aunt, his mother. Working far from the village, I went home just a day to the burial. I felt the immense urge to offer my support as well as register my condolence and not merely present my face on the day of burial like many would have as their idea of supporting the bereaved. Being a humble family, nothing much was to be expected as far as a decent send off is concerned.
But even then, there are basics, the bare minimum expected from such a ceremony. A good example is the turn up as well as the general conduct of the congregation. This guy was divorced, worked odd jobs away from home and made good use of alcohol for his stomach. He did not have a relationship with his village as well as the villagers. He did not even have friends he could rely on. And as they say in my community, one buries himself (or herself as the case may be) while still alive! Even the church did a service for the left and not for the departed. In short, this guy did not have a good name and as such, people were more driven by the relatives and not the deceased.
Among many other responsibilities for each and every one of us is that of cutting our niche in the society where we live. This is usually easy when one has a bargaining chip like a good education or a big fortune. But what about the bigger percentage, the base of the pyramid? Does it mean that they can never be recognized, that their place in society is the back bench? Well it may look like so to many, but it is not really the measure with which one's worth is gauged upon. There are important milestones that every society recognizes and against which the worth of people living in it. Some of these include:
· Respect for family and society at large.
· Conformity especially on matters such as education, marriage etc.
· Contribution to the society.
· Presence and support in other people's activities.
While all societies are different, the value of a neighbour is never compromised. It is nothing that can be exchanged or bought with money. Respect cannot be asked for. When all is said and done, the extent of one's estate cannot soothe them when their backs are beaten and their feet baked in old age.