(Picture: Children celebrating while playing in my garden)
As each year goes by it seems that each one is shorter, and once again we are at the end of another year. Each brings its own challenges, especially these past few years as our societal norms seem to have been eclipsed by disease and climate change – an awakening of sorts.
We must put this into the perspective of history, and the challenges that other generations had to confront that were similar, or worse, and realize the positive side of these dilemmas. People have been forced to slow down, even stop; to think and contemplate many aspects of their lives, lifestyles and what is truly important in life. This can only auger well for a different future.
This year we need to reflect on the year that was, but more importantly to contemplate the kind of society in which we want to live. Christians initially celebrated Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ, a baby born in a manger in a stable, who came comeinto the world to bring a message of light and hope as a means to fill the world with love, compassion, and care.
The challenge we now face is to realize that we must be open to ourselves and each other about the need for a new destiny, and then begin the process of creating one that is more humane, compassionate, more loving, and less destructive.
In my own world, this year has seen its challenges in a country that is getting poorer and lacks the foundation of a functional education system, supportive social programs, andvibrant local economies that exist in more developed countries.
Despite the impediments and increasing demands, and with support from my family and friends we have been able to lighten the lives of many, provide educational support, medical care, and food for children and adults alike. While the children were my main focus, you realize that, most often, you have to support the mother, as many are single, in order to help their children.
I am eternally grateful for the priceless gift of support – personal, moral, and financial that I have been given. It only shows how each one of us can change a little bit of the world by coming together insharing and caring. In a place like this, as my young Gambian friend Demba told me, “There is no help that is little. Help is always big.”
So, as we enter the Christmas season, and as is my usual practice, I would like to share with you a special gift, for all your kindness, positive support, and financial contributions, for without all of this, I would not be here.
My gift is a gift of love accumulated from all the children that have come into my life since I came to The Gambia, a love that is felt in their hugs, when in the comfort of my arms, in their gentle smiles and sparkling eyes of contentment.
It is so pure and gentle that it touches the deepest part of your heart and reaches into your very being and makes you realize how fortunate you are to be alive. It is the gift of giving that is inbuilt into us all, but often hidden behind the hurts and trials we have suffered in life.
We always have choices in life, nothing is static, everything is fluid, just like the way the universe is continually expanding, and the world itself keeps remaking itself with the tectonic shifting of its plates.
As we all move forward into a brand-new life as there is no doubt the old one is now dead, and any thought of it returning is as flawed as going back in time; for life itself is always moving forward, and never backwards.
We have a big responsibility to the next generation, and the children yet to be bornand that is to leave behind a livable planet with a caring compassionate society that will ensure that everyone has opportunity, enough resources to live, and a feeling of belonging no matter who they are, theirstatus or the color of their skin. That is the basis of a compassionate, caring loving community and society, which must be the ideal toward which we all strive.
May the spirit of the season and the true meaning of Christmas surround you, despite the challenges we all face individually and collectively. I have believed for a long time that distance is only felt in the mind, and never in the heart – for hearts once connected have no time, no space nor distance – they are always close.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year filled with love and care, to you and yours as we celebrate in our own way individually and collectively.
Written by William (Bill) Pardy
December 17th, 2021
Note: First let me thank all of those who have previously and recently contributed, it has helped beyond your imagination and appreciated from the heart. But, (and this is not easy for me) with a second round of school fees and still outstanding medical costs a little help from some others who expressed interest in helping with my work/mission here and was so encouraging.
One of my challenges, at that time, was a mechanism for people to be able to contribute. In Canada it was much simpler as people could just do an interact transfer to my bank there.
So after some exploration I found that PayPal now has a mechanism for charitable contributions which can work from almost anywhere. So I have set up and account to allow people to send contributions at no cost to you, and a very small service charge for me.
Thank you all for you continued interest and moral support to me and my families, which is much more important than even money. I try and share as much as possible the positive benefits of what I do but it goes beyond that as I learn everyday.
So if are so inclined and would like to help, remember “there are no small contributions here they are all big”.
This is the link: