Thursday, September 28, 2006

Donor Fatigue and related incidents

No this isn't a story about International giving, it is a story about people getting tired. Have you ever been in a situation where you help someone but a level reaches where you have nothing to give and you think that they can get help elsewhere? This is such a story.
My mum met this lady who was down in the dumps ie no job, unwell and had a young kid. My mum used to help this lady out by giving her advice, friendship and money. This lady also had grown kids and my mum tried to get her to reach out to them but she seemed not to want to. Anyway it got to the stage where this lady would drop in without calling, talk to my mum for hours and even ask her for fare to go back home.
This went on for quite some time. I remember one Saturday afternoon, I decided to hang out in the house and watch whatever mindless programming was on because I didn't feel like being out in the sun. The phone rang and to pick it, a young girl's voice was on the line and asked me if my mum was home; I said no and told them that she was at a meeting and the best thing would be to call her in the evening. That was that so I thought. I started dozing due to the muggy weather when I heard knocking at the gate. So I got up drunk on sleep and stumbled outside and who was at the gate? Yes, it was my mum's "friend" and her daughter. They asked if my mum was in and in my drowsy state I told her that they had called and I had expressly told them that my mum would not be around till evening and it would be best if they came back then.
At that point the lady asked me if she could come in and wait. Picture this, it was 1 pm and my mum would often come back around 9 pm after her meetings and seeing friends on Saturdays. I didn't picture myself seated with them for all those hours just looking at each other, so I thought fast.
There was a friend who lived a few houses away whom I would go see over the weekend so we could talk computers, soccer and other guy things. So I told them that unfortunately that couldn't happen because I was leaving the house and they told me that they would go see someone in the neighbourhood and pass by later. So even though it wasn't in my schedule I had to go see my pal and hang out. We had such a great time that I ended up going back home around 9.30 pm.
To get home I found my mum and she seemed to be pissed off. When she came home she found that lady waiting for her on the outer lawn, in my mum's words,
"she was wating for me like I owed her a debt!"
My mum went on to re-iterate how tired she was of that lady, how she never follows my mum's advice and how she is tired of being relied upon instead of her reaching out to her family. I think that evening my mum must have sent the subtle message that she was tiring of her because I didn't see the lady for quite some time.
Anyway what I wanted to ask is that even though that story must make my family look mean, aren't there situations you have been in when you have helped someone out but they keep on coming back for more until your good will is drained and you become like everyone else and turn them away.

That reminds me of another story. I was once using one of the many phone booths at City Hall with a friend when this half blind dude came and asked me if he could make a phone call. You see I was at one of the phone card booths which I preffered due to the fact they were more reliable than the coin operated ones. Anyway I had just finished the minutes on the card (yes, I'm not lying!) and was about to leave when he approached him, so I ushered him to an Indian dude in the next booth. He tapped the Indian dude's shoulder and asked him if he could make a phone call.
The Indian dude nodded his shoulder and proceeded to usher the man to the coin operated booths and gestured those are the ones he should be using and walked away. Talk about being harsh!

Reminds me another story of some time when I was in Sarit Centre (one of my fave hangouts esp after they did the extensions) and this dude in a thread bare suit comes and asks me for money, saying he needs to buy a stamp.
Anyone who has ever lived in Nai knows that you will hear 1001 sob stories per day and it is hard to know which one is true or false. What I decided to do was to tell him to follow me down to the Post Office downstairs where I bought him a stamp so he could post his letter. I would rather I was conned out of a stamp which he would have to use to post a letter rather then money which could be used for something else.

I think it is rather hard for someone to remain charitable when it comes to people you meet in your day to day lives because unfortunately too many people in nai have taken advantage of people's kinds hearts and come up with sob stories to make a living. Time and again such people are exposed on the streets but what it does is harden people's hearts to those who are genuinely in need. It also doesn't help that with all the briefcase ngo's around, when you give to one of them you don't know if the money is going to get there or not. It's like playing roulette at a casino.
But what to do? We must keep on helping when and where we can.................
Ps: Please share the good sob stories you've heard ie those dudes whose busfare is stolen on a daily basis!
pps: In case I forgot, Thank you for resuming services real fast KBW technicians!I am back on the aggregator after a short absence!

16 comments:

Devious One said...

I regain victory...off to read now !

Acolyte said...

@ Devious
Let's see if you'll be fast enough to comment on the contents before someone else!

Movie Buff said...

There are people who just want to always be in need.

As in they just dont listen to advise..... they just want to be asking and asking and asking...

And there reaches a point where u cant take it anymore and u cut those ties.......

I give advise ONCE. Choose to listen or not... just dont come back to me with the same nonsensical shit. No energy for that mess!

Devious One said...

I have an aunt who had such tabias of showin up whenenever she needed usaidizi and to make matters worse she would come to the house like she owned it and would even have the balls to order me around...

So she used to ingia the hao and devious would be on her merry way out and let mathe deal with her !!

But the thing that kills me is seeing peeps beggin these sides !! with all the incentives the government has to help these peeps..it jus irks me that they dont make the efofrt to go and get help - HECK THESE BEGGARS HAVE MORE PRIVILEGES THAN I DO !

Im not trying to be insensitiive to the less fortunate and Im sure theres a story behind the homeless et all but once a buddy offered to buy this beggar a fish sandwich and dude had the audacity to retort that he didnt like fish and he wasnt even pleasant about it !! oh well then !

Acolyte said...

@ movie buff
I do agree that some people just love playing the neediness and victim card.
Hard is it is we have to cut those people off!
@ devious one
Seems someone beat you to content comments!
Pole bout your aunt.I have had such relas and it isn't funny at all!They make it seem like you have to help them or else!
As for homeless peeps in stato, some are on their own level. Some of them don't even seem homeless at all from a quick glance.
A pal of mine had a similar story he volunteered to buy a fish meal and was told to buy chicken instead.Needless to say he walked away.

spicebear said...

i hate hate hate people who show up without calling or letting me know in advance. you have to be a very special sort of person to show up unannounced. ugh, that is one of my pet peeves.

lool, those manenos of saying they want to wait and kumbe your parents are coming back usiku are mannerless. i used to do the same thing you did - walk out having locked the house and ask them to come back and make sure the dogs were out for a "walk" so that they wouldn't hang around. yes i'm malicious but really, for shame! unless its an emergency it can wait.

the one that won was when my mother was out of town for a couple of weeks and the dude wanted to wait. for two weeks! i gave him busfare and told him to go on his way cos ai, my budget was for rave not to give someone free room and board.

Acolyte said...

@ spicebear
Auuuuuuuuuuuuuiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!
You have made my day!
Ati a dude knows your mums has bounced and wants to chill for her for two weeks!Dude would have haribud plans for the hanyee kabisa!
But that reminds me of some mathee who came from shags when coincidentally my mum was out of town because our phone couldnt get through so she came thinking my mum could be unwell and need here.
When I asked her why she didn't call our cousins and ask them to find out for her, she was speechless.

egm said...

Ah, I have a story that happened about sometime back. This girl came to the states to chuo, but stress piled up sana and she had to go home, so my bro and I saidiad. She recovered, and came back to school, but suffered a relapse. So we try and get to the root of the issue, seeing if there was something that was causing this stress. Obviously medical attention was sought after. Our efforts were dubbed as malicious by her folks, who were probably in denial. Whether that was the case or not, it was just too much for us. Yaani ontop of not being thanked for helping where we had absolutely no obligation to do so, we were heaped with insults! Eh, ties were katwad, and we said good riddance. We said if she was to come back here, she would have to deal with issues like everyone else of us did. Solo. Without any of us raising even a finger.

As for beggars, I simply don't give them a cent. I'd rather donate to something like the food bank or soup kitchen, heck even go and serve soup sometime than spare a cent to these folks. I, too, have gotten the rebuff when I offered someone food. Kwani the saying beggars can't be choosers has never been told to them?

Talking of beggars, there is this guy (probably just a story) who is reputed to drive up to the city, park his car somewhere, get off and secure a corner elsewhere and start begging. Ati that is his day job. Jioni he gathers his earnings, pandas his moti and zooms off to wherever he comes from.

Acolyte said...

@ EGM
Ahsante ya punda..?I have always noticed this happen when someone is helping someone from Kenya and there is a third party back home. Alot of assumptions are made. But that is another storo for another day.
Your approach for dealing with beggars is very practical.
As for your story, I wouldn't be surprised if it was true. Such have happened in Kenya sans car of course.

Girl next door said...

I can relate to your story, I can't remember how many times some people would show up in our digz looking for my parents to rescue them from something, inconsiderate that there were other commitments. It's one thing for close relaz and family friends, but totally different for random acquintances who expect everything. I learned a lot from my peroz about how to be diplomatic and treat people (even getting rid of them).And in Kenya, there's something magical about living in Nairobi: everyone will want to come to your digz convinced that you're very rich and must share the wealth. After we moved out of the city, the no. of unsolicited visits drastically went down.
Once, I was going shopping for groceries here in the States and as I was leaving, there was a dude in raggedy clothes begging outside. I believe in giving food or clothing rather than just dropping money. So I offer the dude some fruits and food and he refused! I walked away without any guilt.

Aegeus said...

In my home town, so long as you are perceived to be doing well, moochers will always show up. My parents have had to relocate several families off their farm after his brothers showed up, lived, got married, had children, on their farm! So he bought plots in nearby districts and had them move out. They still expect to be 'assisted' with money, medical bills to be paid for them etc. It is really pathetic. I do not give money to beggars as a general rule.

Half 'n' half said...

I can so relate to your mum (and no you guys aint mean, people just get tired) I had an uncle who used to come visit us on sunday morning ( every sunday morning at 10 without fail) Till we nicknamed him Mr Sunday. And he wouldnt leave till monday morning. We had to wait until my parents had gone and then made sure he heard us calling him Mr Sunday needless to say he has never come back.

I do hate those people with sob stories- real or imagined

And Aco esther is the chick of Capital rock

The.Hanyeé said...

Totally relate, dude. I have a psycho uncle who always used to come and "wait" for my zak when he was away on business. Needless to say, my old lady used to send him off with busfare to spare us the agony of the weird presence he brought with him.

The fisi did this for a while and when my old man heard abt it, he told him to back off. Flew over that thing nestled on his shoulders. He then used to stay and demand for tea, food, water..like it was a "boarding & lodging". One day, my ninja sister found him waiting on the lawn (whats that shit about bana!) and told him that both my folks werent around and she was just passing by and he couldnt stay. The guy brought drama and when I got home, he was outside arguing with my sister..and then threatened her.

Something snapped.

I threw the nigga out of the compound. As Uncle Phil threw Jazzy Jeff countless times. Dont be coming to our household and disrespecting us, fool! What pains me is that I am named after that old goat...bah!

Nakeel said...

Have known my dad and mum to be like your mum extra generous but one day a mama who had made our place the red cross office gat mum in bad moods mpaka akashangaa..
I can be generous in my own way but when u make it a habit then hata mungu anajua its being a parasite now and that person has hands macho and mdomo...

Rista said...

Aco,
Sometimes "life happens" and one is forced to seek out assistance whether they're being a nuisance to others or not. It's fine when ur bila family and responsibilities to several people, but when ur kid has to eat or go to school... pride is not what you think about. Yes you didn't ask these people to have kids, but still... Besides, it's your parents' relationship to them (they go way back and share memories you will never know about). Your paros are the ones who know why they put up with them, and you, as a tenant in your paros hao also have to put up with them.

Acolyte said...

@ Rista
I don't say it is wrong to seek out assistance but should people seek out assistance forever?The post title should tell you that it is not about not giving but getting tired of giving to those who should help themselves or look elsewhere.
I do agree that people do share memories and such but in my case my very own mother had tired of seeing this lady so I did not err in my course of action.
So your comment may apply in some cases but not in my case. But I also believe there is a time to help and a time to let go.