The middle-aged Indian man sitting behind me on the minibus taps my shoulder as I count out the fare in preparation. He shakes his head and tells me, he’s got this.
A young black taxi driver takes me to a relative’s house, patiently re-routing after I get the address wrong. Ten minutes after dropping me off he’s back. I’d forgotten my travel water bottle in the back of his car. “No problem,” he shrugs with a smile.
A new friend brings me Golden Apples from her garden. Another cake, sweet balls of mettai and crunchy plantain. I’m loaned a bicycle and told “keep it until you have finished”. Given lifts out of people’s way.
I’m invited to special occasions, or just to hang out. A dig dutty, a launch, a birthday, a quiz night, an exhibition, a lime on the sea wall. Told, “Come round whenever, don’t wait for an invite”.
In the morning my phone buzzes. “Good morning”, “What are you up to today?”, “How are you?” As I get ready for bed, “Good night”, “How was your day?”, “Have a good sleep”. An email pops up, subject line is ‘Worried’. “I haven’t heard from you in a long while. Are you ok?”
I read about a Chinese man who hands out boxes to homeless people on religious holidays. “A big box a food with loud fry fish pon top and a bottle of sealed water, not pipe water or dutty water, so listen good, is dem new $100 bottle. Every man jack get he big box and he water and he feeling important, bless up and thing.”
I see a minibus driver stop diagonally across the road, so a school girl can cross safely. I see conductors lift small children and heavy bags from buses so passengers don’t stumble with their heavy load. I see a market trader give a dishevelled man $20.
I hear how at weddings and other celebrations, it’s fine to just show up. How there’s always a welcome and plate of food, even for an invited stranger. I hear of fundraising drives, outreach projects and enthusiastic volunteers. I hear of sacrifices made and dreams put on hold so others can achieve theirs.
It’s not radical. It’s not unique. It’s just humanity. And kindness. And love.