Heart to Heart

August 24 , 2019 . By Tsion Fisseha

“I didn’t know why I kept falling as a child,” my colleague said to me. “The doctors told me that it was because I was anaemic, but about a year ago they finally said that it was my heart.”

This is the story of just one person suffering from heart-related issues in Ethiopia.  As a child, I used to wake up in the middle of the night hyperventilating and gasping for air. I remember my heart beating really fast to the point where I felt the need to hold it with my own two hands, so that it would not leave my chest. I remember being rushed to the hospital only to find out that I was doing more than well. Even though the doctors always cleared me, I still have a soft spot for people with heart conditions since it kind of hit close to home.

This experience of my life and many others always made me realise that I would do anything in my power to give back to those who are unable to provide for themselves. Give back to the society that struggles to make ends meet. Help out a brother or a sister that has fallen back on his or her bad luck.

Recently, “the one Birr for one heart” text message challenge has been flooding the social media arena. Active members of Facebook have challenged their family, friends, colleagues and loved ones to send whatever they can to the text line to contribute for this blessed cause.

Ethiopia is now being called the most welcoming country in one of the most popular online travel resources. The people, as written on the website, are generous in their approach to complete and utter strangers.

And as amazing as it is being known throughout the world as a country with open arms for anyone who comes, this generosity and welcoming should be spread throughout the country even for those who are not foreigners.

Love and kindness should be given to brothers and sisters within the country, as well as tourists.

The art of giving back is a delicate sense of living. It is the lifestyle that preaches the ideology of giving what has been so abundantly given to you. It is also a lifestyle that says “if you have two, give one and live in harmony, rather than living with all the money in the world.”

Charity, through time, has carried with it a lot of dirty baggage. They say that money turns even the kindest person into someone evil.

Years ago, with the lack of well-equipped facilities and trained doctors, children who have been diagnosed with a heart condition could not get the appropriate treatment in the country. Even after the surgery could be done in the country, the lack of proper material proved to be a hurdle. This, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg for Ethiopia.

The challenges, however, should not be the aspects of our lives that separate us. They should instead bring us together as a nation toward the betterment of every citizen.

Muhammad Yunus, in his book “Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism”, said, “Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They’ll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society - how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.”

As long as we are living, our one virtue should be our ability to give without expecting anything in return.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 24,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1008]

Tsion Fisseha is a writer and head of foreign languages in the news department at a local TV station. She has been a part of a pan African poetry slam competition representing Ethiopia and is a member of a rock band entitled the Green Manalishi. She can be reached at [email protected]

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