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COLUMN 

PEOPLE say that there are angels on this Earth living among us in human bodies and that at least once in one's lifetime, a person is touched by them.

In my three decades or so being on Earth, I have to say I am mighty thankful to have touched by a number so far. The above paragraph is actually the introduction of a book I am working on for I believe a little inspiration is needed in people's lives today.

Call me a dreamer or realist as my friend Orton likes to refer to me as but I have this notion that one of our purposes in life is leaving a lasting mark on another's life.

The memory of that meeting should either put a lasting smile on your face or be life lesson. A couple of years ago when I was relatively new to Dar es Salaam, my dad confused the dates that I was arriving from Tabora and didn't meet me at the airport.

I eventually grabbed a cab and roamed the streets until by God's Grace I bumped into someone who swore he would leave no stone unturned until I got home.

You see my dad several years before that had gone out of his way to help this man and he had left a lasting impression on the man and when he realised that I was his son, he went out of his way to help me.

The life lesson I got there was always treat people with kindness and if you are in the position to help, go out of your way and help, most times it doesn't cost you much.

The second person I consider an angel on Earth is the Founder of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak. He taught and is still teaching the power of giving and the inner glorification one derives for it.

For over four decades, Dr Pathak has been working with untouchables in India, there are the lowest of the lowest in the caste system.

Basically for centuries untouchables because of their status were toilet cleaners and not allowed within other segments of society and lived in the outskirts of towns, they were not allowed to touch people of the higher caste, not allowed to eat with other people, had a wear a bell around their neck to alert others that they were approaching and not even allowed to draw water from wells and had to wait for someone of the upper castes to draw water for them.

With the help of a simple invention of a twin pit latrine that didn't need to be have the waste removed on a daily basis and used less amounts of water than the average flush toilet, they were emancipated and today do all that they never used to be allowed before. Thanks to him, they have been to America, Europe and beyond.

Though untouchability is banned in India, there are pockets that still exist but for those he has rescued, he is a Messiah to many. In one of my trips there, I experienced first hand how his power of giving work in automatic mode so to speak.

A local paper ran a story of a bride who had left his husband's house and returned to her parents because there was no toilet and she had to walk several kilometres to get a secluded place to ease herself.

In many societies, it is a taboo for a bride to return home unaccompanied and in India it is pronounced. When the word reached the ears of Dr Pathak, without hesitation, he announced that the following day we would be travelling to the village where it happened, that Sulabh would be building the toilet for her and her family would be getting 4,000 US Dollars for the courage that she displaced and that's what happened.

As the saying goes in this digital age, the news went viral and before long, the woman's courage spread in other people's homes and Sulabh has kept their word and helped build their toilets and along the way touched the lives of thousands of people and helped enrich their lives.

Recently Dr Pathak embarked on serving widows. In Hindu society, when a woman loses her husband, it is as though it is her bad omen that caused the death and therefore widows stop wearing ornaments, not allowed to wear bright coloured saris, not allowed to perform certain holy rituals and if they are not living in ashrams, when there is a party at home, they are not allowed to be a part of it.

Sulabh within a very short time has provided around the clock medical care, given them a stipend and so they no longer have to beg, bettered their living quarters, are teaching them Hindi and English and are not performing certain rituals they thought they would perform in another lifetime.

I have visited where they serve the widows and met people who have been widows for over 50 years, they range between 30 and 105 years old. Sulabh International is one if not the biggest NGO in India working on sanitation and one may argue that they are able to do so because they have the financial might.

That can be a point but giving is about the heart and not size of the wallet. Whenever I need some blessing, a simple delicious home cooked meal can provide that.

When my brother and the help congratulate me for the meal, the soul is fulfilled. The power of giving is huge and doesn't always need to be monetary terms. It can be a smile, a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, giving someone the right directions, buying a bottle of water for the beggar on the street, the list is endless.

Let's strive at making a difference in other people's lives and leave a lasting impression on them. Stay safe.

Source : http://www.dailynews.co.tz/index.php/columnists/columnists/35939-let-s-learn-to-make-an-impression-on-people-s-lives-and-make-it-last