Let’s not wait for a hurricane to show how we can pull together

  • Roger Phillipe assisting at Elliot Primary School, with Lo'Nikco Durrant in the background (Photograph supplied)

    Roger Phillipe assisting at Elliot Primary School, with Lo'Nikco Durrant in the background (Photograph supplied)

“Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others”

— Wikipedia.com

For years we have heard a number of comments specific to Bermudians’ joint community efforts. Two of them are “Bermudians only come together during and after hurricanes” and “If only Bermudians pulled together we would have a better island”.

Both of these comments have large elements of truth in them.

As individuals, we all have volunteered for one or multiple community organisations throughout the island — whether it be the Pink Ladies at the hospital, coaching and support staff with any given sports club, or church members feeding the homeless. We are a caring and giving people by nature.

Recently, this giving nature has been on display in fine form with an effort to get government schools in order before the start of the new school year.

The organic brainchild of Angela Young and others, “Work Rallies” has tackled much of the heavy lifting needed to clean interiors and exteriors of many of our public schools. Starting with 15 persons at one single school in their first week, the movement has mushroomed to more than 100 persons spread out to multiple schools over the past few weeks.

With public schoolteachers due to go back to prepare their classes today, there has been a Herculean effort by Bermudians of diverse backgrounds to ensure that our teachers and students are greeted by classrooms worthy of their presence.

Last Saturday, Minister of Education Diallo Rabain, and Freddie Evans, the education commissioner, were at Elliot Primary School with approximately 30 others — cleaning and moving bookcases, chairs and desks.

Other volunteers were busy delivering food and refreshments to those working around the Elliot campus.

With many of the volunteers alumni of Elliot, the work rally served as a form of school reunion, with many persons speaking of their primary school years. Being able to give back to their beloved school had the workers beaming with pride.

As Bermudians, we have many challenges in front of us. Challenges on a macro level, such as balancing the budget, paying down the debt and growing the economy. Likewise, we have challenges on a micro level, such as keeping our schools safe and clean, ensuring that our seniors are taken care of, and keeping our roadways free of overgrown bushes and weeds.

With a combination of rain and heat, we have seen some of our roadways transformed from asphalt and concrete into mini-forests. Ironically, with a combination of early retirements and a hiring freeze, the respective sections of the Government have simply been unable to keep up with the amount of work needed to combat these mini-jungles.

So herein lies both a national challenge and a national opportunity.

As Bermudians, we have two options:

• Option A: sit down and complain among ourselves.

• Option B: come together and offer our time and services to address some of these areas.

On July 18, 34,000 Bermudians voted one way or the other. Despite our political choices, every Bermudian wants to see our country looking as meticulous as possible. We do not have to wait for a hurricane to work together. As proven with the school work rallies, all we need is the collective desire to make a difference.

If you are willing and able to assist with minor landscaping tasks such as cutting overgrown hedges, taking up weeds, operating weed whackers, and a bit of trucking, we are interested in hearing from you.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). He can be reached at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or via e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm

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Published Sep 1, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 1, 2017 at 7:58 am)

Let’s not wait for a hurricane to show how we can pull together

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