Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Snapshots of Human Nature: An Unusual Glimpse at Mental Illness...

There are moments in life that are just frozen in your memory, as clear as if it had been printed as a photograph and stored in a physical album. One of these is this glimpse at mental illness I got one Christmas...

I loved Christmas growing up. My uncles, aunties and cousins from Kumasi would come down to Accra and we'd all be merry together. Christmas day would meet the house filled with assorted aromas to suit the peculiar tastes present. 

On one such day, dinner was being served when we heard a knock at the gate. It was a homeless, mentally ill woman. A wave of sadness went around the house as it's always sad to see lack, suffering and loneliness when surrounded by abundant food, family and happiness.

My Aunt went to get some money and offered it to the lady. She refused saying that she just wanted to eat a home-cooked meal and that she could not remember the last time she had a home-cooked meal. The nostalgia in her voice was heart-breaking.

As a portion was dished out to her, she washed her hands and began to eat with a delight that was heart-warming to watch. She began to talk of her children and husband and her life before she 'lost it'. It was a perfectly sane woman that spoke. 

When she was done, she offered profuse thanks and went her way with a spring in her step. When offered money, she refused, saying that by the food and the company, we'd done more than enough...

This is a snapshot of human nature. When stripped bare of everything, our true needs and desires manifest; all we really need is sustenance and some love (and compassion)... the rest is dessert.

Feel free to share a story, or situation that gave you snapshot of human nature, good or bad. I'd love to hear them. :)


  1. oh wow! Thats nice--I'm sure that is a moment never to be forgotten, I can only imagine :)

  2. Moments like this can never be forgotten. In my case its dads kind gesture towards some people who worked for his company,especially those with lots of kids..he took care their fees although he had their parents on pay role.

  3. @Gee: yes o... It's amazing how vividly i remember it.
    @ Didi: awww... Daddy's legacy remains, no shaking. hug.