This season we are in has me interested in neighborhood love, I’m not refering to the boy sees girl and girl sees boy kind of love, but the ultimate commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself. As I was reviewing my thoughts for an entirely different post; I received a twitter notification, and as soon as I began to scroll through my TL, I saw several adverts about valentine’s Day sales; after that I went over to Instagram and there it was again, another valentine’s Day sales, “50% promo extended till the end of the month in the spirit of valentine’s Day and the month of love”; in those exact words.
Maybe there is something the God of Love is trying to tell me I mumbled. Its been 8 days since valentine’s Day, and so far so good all that is left are sales and promo items in the name of love. I thought that came and left so fast, like every other feb 14th before this.
Despite all of the noise and shenanigans surrounding this day and month of love, we know there are people who didn’t get love at all. Like people who do not have a special someone in their lives or the people who have been heartbroken too many times to care about celebrating love. Although the original purpose of February 14th is a bit muddled, seeing how it has now become a day for exchange of gifts and romance between lovers; I still think there’s more that we can do, and that everyone needs love. We are more familiar with wife-husband, father-daughter, mother-son, brother-sister, boyfriend-girlfriend kind of loves, while the neighbor-neighbor love is suffering neglect.
Your neighbors are not just the buildings to your left, right, front and back, not all your neighbors have the luxury of a front door with a bell and walls. Your neighbors are not especial to the people who live in the same context as you, in a home.
A mallam who sells suya on your street. An aboki who cooks noodles and delicious eggs with hot firewood tea and soft bread to make a living.
A woman with five children who runs a grinding machine down your street and fries akara at night.
A young boy who fills 10 gallons of water and pushes them around under the sun or just waiting in a corner somewhere looking for someone to sell to.
Regardless of where you live, be it on a well planned street surrounded by trees and shrubs, in an ensuite of single rooms surrounded by dirty water, in between these two sides of residences, or maybe it’s an estate secluded from the rest of the world; you have these neighbors.
There’s hardly a person who doesn’t know these people, almost everywhere you go you’ll find at least one or all of these people along our streets.
Even the man who lives in an estate will find some of these people just down the road from the gate of his estate.
Some of them are homeless, and have to sleep in the small spaces they have set up for their little businesses.
The irony is that some of these people are more hardworking than the average house owner on that street.
That homeless man, the “mai barrow and mai shai”, the suya man, the taxi driver who left his family in the West to run a business in the North, deserves your show of love.
Some of us look down on these people because of their appearances and the nature of their hustle.
A rapport with them might create a whole new perspective for you, but most importantly, if you have the opportunity to show them love, do not hesitate.