An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony
AS the day ceased and the night crept over us, it was storytelling time from grandma and grandpa.
Grandpa cleared the fireplace and started the fire to put on the kettle. The night was beautiful with the stars twinkling above us enjoying the natural light from the moon and stars. While waiting for the water to boil, grandma begins her story of the old days and how they’d enjoyed that life compared to todays.
I tuned in ready with interest. Before grandma could continue, grandpa broke in and said, “Grandchild, those days were the best.”
I wanted to hear how it was. Then grandma continued. Life was simple back then when, even though we didn’t have what you have, we enjoyed and had a great time.
We would walk long distances without fear of being robbed. Our dress and lifestyle were simple. We didn’t have make up or wear jewellery. The place was good and so safe.
We would use a payphone or write a letter and have time to chat with one another. When we wrote we made sure our spelling was correct.
Looking at this new generation, with mobile phones, you kids don’t know how to read and write properly and you make up your own spelling.
You forget to spend quality time with family and loved ones, breaking the chain of healthy relationships.
Grandma was interrupted by the water boiling and grandpa cutting in and asking for tea.
Grandma retrieved some soft biscuits to go with the tea while grandpa continued the story.
He said those days were filled with love, compassion, respect and unity. Different people lived side by side in harmony. The community was friendly and everyone understood each other.
When problems arose, everyone shared their concern to resolve the situation smoothly and calmly. If it was serious; it was taken to the right people. We didn’t have to take the law into our own hands.
But today, I feel afraid and it’s no longer safe. Men, women, children, old people are robbed, raped, abused, bashed up. Crime is increasing and what is our law doing?
Grandpa paused and I could see him nodding his head as he sipped his tea. I stared at my grandparents looking at how strong they were, coming this far in life.
I understood how happy the society had been. I said to them, “Life can be cruel sometimes, but if we learn to appreciate what is has in store for us and respect the beauty of it, I guess we all could live in peace and harmony”.
Grandma and grandpa just looked at me and smiled. And the clock struck and it was already midnight. We finished our tea and grandpa and I gathered the mats, grandpa put out the fire and we headed into the house.
I thanked my grandparents for a lovely night and the stories. I wished them goodnight and went to my room. As I lay thinking of their stories and at present life, I saw a big difference.
Today’s technology may have made life easier but the standard of living is really not there. Our society seems to have gone insane and the bridge to building a healthy nation has collapsed.
Instead of people standing in unity, they are divided. But there is still hope; we can still build this nation by encouraging people to live harmoniously.