The milk of human kindness
Every now and again when we find ourselves on the brink of losing hope and belief in the goodness of human beings comes a story that reminds us why we dare not.
We were particularly drawn to two stories in yesterday’s edition of this newspaper — stories that clearly show that, amidst the daily tide of bad news and wanton violence, there is no limit to the milk of human kindness which flows unceasingly.
First, let us commend the Seventh-day Adventists in western Jamaica who have been filling the gap since the beleaguered Cornwall Regional Hospital was forced to close three floors and relocate much of their services to neighbouring facilities owned by the Adventists.
Readers will recall that noxious fumes led to the closure of the hospital’s first three floors and the relocation of several clinics and departments, including accident and emergency. A total of 11 outpatient clinics, serving an estimated 500 patients daily, are now being housed by the goodly church folks.
Indeed, the story had a negative pitch to it, in that a church spokesmen and the Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton were denying that the price tag for the Adventist facilities was $2 million, or that any figure had been negotiated. The church spokesman said that even then, the figure would never be $2 million.
We guess that the final figure would depend on how long the hospital services are dispensed from the church facilities. But we were struck by the fact that the church was willing to house the services even before talking money, which is the norm, clearly not thinking of themselves first.
Dr Tufton assured the church members that they would be compensated fairly and we have no reason to believe that he was being anything but sincere. Yet, it is known that getting money out of government is like pulling teeth. Many have gone to their graves without seeing one red cent of money owed to them by government. Let us hope that the compassion of the Adventists will not be adversely exploited.
The second story is about 12-year-old American boy, Rafe Cochran who has been donating to Food For the Poor (FFP) since he was nine, his latest project now being to raise funds to help build an infant department for the Chester Primary and Infant School in St Ann.
The project involves merging eight single unit houses into one 1,728 square foot building with corrugated metal roof, spacious classrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and a playground benefiting 60 students aged three to six.
Master Cochrane raises money through his annual Rafe Cochran Golf Classic in Florida, which attracted more than 80 golfers and raised money to build six double-unit homes in Haiti last year. Before launching the full-fledged golf classic he used to ask people to pledge money for shots he made at a golf tournament — US$100 for pars; $200 for birdies and $250 for eagles.
"Rafe is just 12 years old but he has such a dedicated heart to the poor and wanting to improve people’s lives," said FFP-Jamaica Director David Mair of the young lad who, along with his parents, visited the school at Mason Hall to boost morale just before last month’s Grade Six Achievement Tests.
As we think of the Adventists and young Cochrane, John Wesley’s quote is relevant: "Do all the good you can; By all the means you can; In all the ways you can; In all the places you can; At all the times you can; To all the people you can; As long as ever you can."