“I am because we are”
The Ubuntu philosophy: “I am what I am because of who we all are.”
I connected with Michelle Wallace of Writer in Transit last year. Then we were both part of the Tree of Life collaborative writing challenge orchestrated by Samantha Redstreake Geary. We interacted often as we belonged to a group. Again, in December 2013. we participated in the Composers for Relief Supporting the Philippines, another beautiful initiative by Samantha.
So when Michelle announced the Ubuntu Bloghop celebrating her blog’s third anniversary/birthday, I signed up.
Happy Anniversary Michelle!
I love the name of the bloghop “Ubuntu” Besides being a delight to roll it off the tongue, the word has beautiful meaning.
A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.
He goes on to elaborate that Ubuntu is the essence of being human – that you cannot exist as a human being in isolation. The beauty of Ubuntu is interconnection and the generosity that flows as a result.
How wonderful to live by the Ubuntu philosophy!
Ubuntu in action
If I had to grab an example of Ubuntu from my own life, I’d think of my great Grandmother, Grandmother and Mother. And specifically one of my uncles (Mom’s brother) who never thought twice about sharing everything he had. He saw the world around him as his family. If he had money and someone needed it more, he just gave it to them.
I remember, years ago, when we lived in Mumbai – and Vidur was just born, we were waiting for him to be 100 days old before he could go visiting. Yeah some belief. So – finally, D day came and my Uncle and Aunt were very excited to welcome the prince home. We reached their place and during the walk from the railway station to their house – a 20 minute stroll, we went through the market. Everywhere, we were surprised to see people greeting my Uncle – not casually acknowledging – but in a very loving way.
One lady, a flower -seller stopped us and insisted on giving us a few lengths of garlanded flowers and refused to take money. When we forced her to take the money, she broke down and said she wouldn’t be alive and sitting there had it not been for my Uncle’s generosity during her time of need. Her story is typical. Drunk jobless husband who beat her every day and frittered away whatever little she earned, two children to support.
Then one day she approached my Aunt asking for work. My Uncle fed her children and asked if she would like to do business instead and explained how the area needed more flower sellers, what with two-three temples nearby. She was nervous, but he convinced her and got her what she needed to get started. There was no looking back after she realized she enjoyed doing it.
Over the next two-three days we met many more people like the flower lady. My heart swells with pride even today to recall that time.
Ubuntu in action!.
Another great example of Ubuntu I can think of is my blogging community. We are individuals yet we are all interconnected when we come together to support each other. I can proudly state that I belong with a group of bloggers who:
- care for each other
- respect each other
- are compassionate
- respectful of each other
- eager to support each other
What is your idea of Ubuntu?
Please share in the comments!