Spare A Thought For Our City.
The day we take responsibility for our lives is the day our lives start to change. The day we stop blaming others for what does or does not happen is the day we start to see miracles take place.
Take our city’s cleanliness and beauty for example.
The day we take responsibility for our role in its current state rather than pointing fingers is the day our city will get a makeover.
Our streets will be (relatively) cleaner and they will cease to resemble dirty muddy rivers when it rains.
Our neighbouroods will once again be a clean idyllic place for our children to play in as they were always meant to be.
When we accept responsibility.
When we stop passing the buck and exclaiming “not my fault!”
It is so too our fault (excuse me for using teenage lingo)
If you can look me straight in the eye and tell me you don’t litter, don’t throw your trash into the ocean, don’t callously overstep your boundary (literally) and extend your house beyond its beacons such that not even a hearse can pass through.
Look me straight in the eye and tell me you don’t leave your trash near your neighbour’s back door and make a run for it.
Tell me you don’t leave an event having thrown your (single use) bottle on the floor and your napkins and whatever else you have used instead of respectfully finding somewhere appropriate to dispose of it.
How difficult can that be?
I am neither here to make anyone feel guilty nor am I trying to absolve myself from any wrong doing about the issue. But perhaps a little guilt is what we need to do the right thing sometimes.
It just needs to be said.
I just want to change minds. I want us to remove the ‘si kazi yangu si jukumu langu’ mentality.
The mindset that made the problem cannot be the same mindset that fixes it.
We need to change people’s minds.
We need to feel more pride in our surroundings; feel more for our planet.
It starts with us.
It starts with the intention.
That we will not deliberately, knowingly, unashamedly ‘chafua’ our streets and neighbourhoods.
It is not too monumental a task – we just have to want it badly enough.
For example, there is no shame in carrying around a bag to receive your detritus when you are out and about.
I am looking at you, gentlemen. We ladies never leave home without a ‘mfuko’ so take a page out of our book.
Buy yourself a bottle for your water so that you do away with the plastic ones. If you received a bottle while attending an event look for the nearest trash bin to deposit it in.
While we are at it how about we show support for our local garbage collector?
They are inexpensive and I know for a fact that if you can’t pay the 10shs per day (trust me it happens) then they are more than willing to collect their dues tomorrow.
Be a good example yourself.
Raise your standards and proclaim with dignity – and mean it! that I do not litter or contribute to my city’s squalor for the lack of a better word.
Shout it from the rooftops tweet about it make a WhatsApp forward or whichever social media you prefer using but spread the word:
” Let Us Commit to Keeping Our City Clean.”
You might argue that we have no choice but to litter as there are no receptacles for our trash anyway.
Well, then perhaps you can donate trash bags or dustbins if you can afford to do so.
Nail them down if you have to if you fear some rascal will scamper off with it.
We need to be proactive rather than reactive.
There is always something we can do.
Perhaps organise a ‘clean up our neighbourhood’ day. It need not even be a full day, the point is to get into the spirit of picking up after ourselves. It could be fun and a chance to get to know our neighbours.
Best of all we need to educate our children. Train them.
Instill in them that a dirty garbage filled city is not the norm and that they have the power to change it.
That they deserve and are worthy of fresh air, beautiful side streets and awe inspiring parks.
These last few days of December, as you are looking forward to some R and R, as you are preparing to go back to work, to send your children back to school, to embark on your goals, as you are working on starting a new business- whatever is on your planner your calendar your mind, spare a moment for the city.
Think about how you will make a difference.
Wonder how you can help save your little corner of this- Allah’s Earth.
It starts with us. It starts with you and me.
Photo Courtesy of salwa.saleh.ashur on Instagram.
I am a mother of three, born and bred in Mombasa, Kenya. I am passionate about books, writing, healthy living and getting people to see the best of themselves. Especially getting people to see the best of themselves.