Wednesday, April 11, 2012


No one likes to be rejected, but it is an inevitable life experience we all have to face at one point or another. From our career to our relationships, whether we are the most popular or a nerd, it happens!   Of course it hurts, and any grieving is natural, but those with character take a deep breath.

Recently, I learned that there is this African concept called UBUNTU, which is a concept that has come to signify unity---the interrelationship between all beings---that humanity is understood in relation with that of others. The word is from the Bantu language group, derivatives of which are commonly spoken in communities throughout Sub-Sahara Africa. A person with Ubuntu cares for others in a profound way, and deeply senses his/her interdependence with them. It is the recognition that one's well being is connected to that of others, 2 legged, 4 legged, and leafy!

This past week, two kids in the neighborhood took a deep breath in the face of rejection. My two neighbor boys were supposed to be picked up by their dad for the 2 week break to spend it with him at the cattle post. To Stame and Lefika, going to the cattle post with dad was like an American kid going to Disneyland for spring break. It's all they talked about for weeks. Well, dad never showed to pick them up. On the 2nd day of the break, just when I thought all was quiet, and was free of kid play for 2 weeks, my two friends sauntered over, one with tears welted in his eyes, the other with his head leaning against my shoulder, telling me that dad never showed. The lack of understanding and sense of rejection in their faces was all I needed for the Psychologist in me to come out and do whatever I could to help the situation out. And so it was........

Lefika, Stame, and friend
We live in a world that can make our hearts ache, especially in Africa. So many kids here live without one parent or the other---it's almost natural, but I wonder how it really affects them. It has to be confusing! With HIV raging out of control, tsunami's devasting places, and children being left behind, the ramifications of these tragedies are felt in all directions. This week Stame and Lefika were two boys who needed to feel wanted, accepted, and pumped up. Usually, I put a limit to how many times a week the kids can come over to play, but this week, it was my pleasure to provide them with talk, play, and a lot of laughter. Every act of generosity, kindness, or compassion can heal our wounds---I just wish that everyone, especially Stame and Lefika's dad right now, can develop a world view of Ubuntu----centered rather than self-centered!   

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