Thursday, September 4, 2008

Charity begins at home

My dear readers, I have figured it out! I have finally figured out why our country is in such a mess. Before I disclose this new found secret, I‘d like to ask, how many of you have come home from work only to find your home in disarray? Things here and there, dirty plates in the kitchen, your children running amok in dirty clothes, everything upside down. Do you remember how you felt then? Was it a feeling of annoyance, irritation, frustration, anger? (all which leads to high blood pressure of course).Now, compare that feeling to when you came home and your house was clean, all the plates washed and dried in the kitchen, your children looking clean and smart, like little angels, everything in its place. How did you feel then? I am sure you felt happy or satisfied or even grateful. It felt good to be home, right?

Now, all you have to do is imagine that Nigeria is this home you have to see every single day. The roads are full of pot holes, over flowing gutters everywhere, mountains of rubbish by the road sides (Aba, take note), the unbearable noise from the generators…even I am already frustrated just writing all this. You see, my dear people, many problems we are facing today would be solved if only we could keep this country clean. I know many people would think that this is not important at all, but once again, I ask, have you ever been able to cook food in a dirty pot?

There is nothing that can be done properly in a messy environment and that is what Nigeria is, very messy indeed. How do we even think we can sort out the issue of corruption when we cannot tackle a simple matter (which should be common sense, by the way) like environmental sanitation? The reason Nigeria is in the mess it is in, is because we think we can solve the big issues without sorting first, the obvious ones. It is obvious that this country is dirty and it is obvious that we all need to do our part in cleaning up this mess we are all in. Lets us start with the little things and this leads me to the challenge I have for my dear readers this week.

1.Always carry a small “nylon” or “paper bag” in your bag (for the men, you can have it in your briefcase, for those that do not have either; I guess you’ll just have to carry it like that). Put all remnants of your snacks in it instead of throwing out the window. Banana peels, orange peels, pure water sachets, mango seeds, gala wrappings, i.e., anything that is considered as refuse. Throw this bag in the nearest refuse bin at home or at your office. Please do not leave it by the roadsides.

2.Implore your employers to make sure that all offices have refuse bins. Even the rubber ones will do.

3.Talk to your neighbors about your environment. What can you all do collectively to make your street cleaner? I am sure there are many people that would willingly contribute something, in cash or kind to have a cleaner street.

4.For those that have children, encourage them to use the refuse bin at home and perhaps even get them to pick up papers when they see them in public places.

5.When you see someone else polluting the environment, make sure you bring his /her attention to it.

Are these small things too much for us to do? Before we begin to reach for the big goals, perhaps we can all start with the small things that we, as citizens ought to do. Nigeria is our home, let’s keep it clean.


Allied said...

My dear Waffy, you are so right. Can this be done? I think we have to start from our homes before we can take it out to the streets. You can’t possibly expect people who can’t wash their dishes after they are done eating to pick up the trash that lie on the street. If we can’t lay our beds when we wake up, how can we expect to tidy up the space we use - being considerate of others? If we think maids are responsible for the chores in our homes – how do we teach our children the importance of cleanliness?

You see Waffy – we have to first rid ourselves the mentality of “Someone else will do it” before we can see this changes in our homes – then it tickles down to our street then the whole states leading to the cleanliness of Nigeria.

Arewa said...

I feel u Waffy. I get so pissed off when Nigerians go on and on about the gov not functioning when they can't give themselves "brain" and do simple things. Only an animal eats and throws the remnant/wrapper/whateva out of the car on the road... na yaradua go come pick am? or when they pass one-way and block the road and people have to spend 5 hours on the road because of some goats that cant follow instructions? Waffy, I have seen cars on one-way on 3rd mainland day and night because of small traffic... and if they die its not like there is welfare to take care of their children o... *hiss*

these are the little things people can work on to improve their situation instead of always complaining about bad gov.

Jaycee said...

I love this, because it's as if you imported my thoughts into the post.

I'd love to post this on a group for change if u don't mind:

Waffarian said...

@allied: I so agree with you! Yes, we definitely have to rid ourselves of that mentality. Also, we have to realise that the reason we are so impressed when we travel abroad is mostly because of the environment. Clean streets, orderliness etc, those are things we can do ourselves.

@arewa: the funny part is like as allied said, everybody will be stuck in the traffic waiting for somebody to do something. They rather sit for hours in the heat than spend 30 minutes helping out.

@jaycee: Post away! you are wlecome to use any of the posts anytime.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I can't believe it...A Nigerian who cares about cleanliness. Sorry for the sarcasm.

Your article is great. Many times I hear Nigerians shooting of their mouths off about Nigeria this and that, (which is immodest and unnecessary), but the basic things like common hygiene, people are oblivious to and seem to embrace filth/grime.

When one is abroad, you see that people don't have to live in filth. But for some reason, many Nigerians at home like it, but get annoyed when they are labelled 'filthy and third world' and get annoyed when tourists eschew the country for some other more sanitary, safe and orderly destination. Can you blame the tourists for that? It's only common sense to avoid muck.

What you say is so true, I wonder why people there find it so hard to do? If everyone behaved like an animal, what kind of world do they expect their children to grow up in?

Filth also spreads disease (by harboring germs, rats and insects) also, so by keeping your environment clean you reduce the incidence of diseases.

People want Nigeria to have a good name, but their actions are designed to bring (sorry further reduce the name of that country to gutter level), how sad.

This post fills me with some hope. Hygiene is one of the basic necessities in life, you don't need to be rich to be clean.

God bless you!!