GIVING BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO; lessons learnt from flowing waterways…

Giving and flowing waterways – waterways in this discussion refer to rivers or streams; where’s the connection? Or does ‘giving because you have to’ and lessons learnt from flowing waterways confuse you more? Let’s try and unpack this.

I have been hearing negative vibes about the government’s taxation department and its tax schedule ever since I could understand adult speak. The department is called different names in different countries but their modus operandi is uniform regardless of ones’ home country; that of taking a percentage of individual or corporate earnings to assist the government in the running of its affairs. So like it or loathe it, each law abiding citizen has to pay taxes; or in other words one ‘gives’, more like is forced to give, because they have to. One’s take-home-pay is the amount left after taxes are deducted! Any familial or individual expenses are calculated based on this take-home-pay!

The bulk, if not all, of the people who ‘give because they have to’ are the taxpayers the whole world over. In this category there are those who do not mind giving and there are those who do mind giving; in fact they would opt not to give if given the choice.

Notice that I have blurred the lines here between ‘paying of taxes’ and ‘giving’ and some people would love to split hairs over their differences, and you are free to do so although I will not be drawn into any argument on this, suffice to say that the mindset at which the givers part with their money – ‘give’ if you like – serves the purpose of this discussion.

Now to the waterway analogy!

I liken those who do not mind giving to, a waterway that freely flows out to sea providing water and nutrients to plants and animals that live along its banks. If you have personally frequented the banks of such a waterway you will see a sparkle in its waters; you will see unmatched greenery in the plants growing beside it; you will see healthy fauna; you will see humans drinking from it without the need for its treatment. Natives of such places call these types of waterways ‘live waterways’. In fact the relationship between the waterways’ dependents and the waterway itself is symbiotic; not only are the flora and fauna healthy but the river itself maintains its health.

There are waterways that flow out to sea incessantly as well but there is no sparkle in their waters. Their flow is sluggish and although they provide water and nutrients to flora and fauna beside them, humans do not freely drink from them. The relationship here is also symbiotic but somehow there is an air of dolefulness inherent in this relationship; it is as if the waterway seems unwilling to give and therefore even if it gives health to others it does not enjoy the same state of health itself. These waterways correspond to those who reluctantly give.

Psychologists and people in the know re human behaviour can go into the nitty gritty of the connection between giving and ones’ overall demeanour but from personal experience I can tell you that I have always felt a sense of accomplishment each time I have given in some small way be it financial or otherwise; my outlook on life post-giving is always positive!

The common denominator for both types of givers is that they both help their government provide for domestic well-being via the establishment of roads, hospitals, parks, etc. And when their government extends its arms in AID to developing countries they have both assisted people in those countries, which include the Solomon Islands; and that, without evening conscientiously thinking about their giving!

Some parallel lessons that one can glean from the waterway analogy is that they both did not know, like the two givers in consideration, who or what they were benefiting by their giving but they continued to give anyway and like most givers the waterways maintained a daily fresh lease of life as they continued to give. Additionally, they did not know the flow-on effect of their giving – like the two givers – via the carbon sink they helped maintain or the oxygen source they helped sustain or even the potential medicinal drugs from the plants they helped water, but they kept on giving.

Imagine for a minute if the major waterways of the world stopped ‘giving’! What would become of our carbon sink and our oxygen source not to mention other things like food, medicines and the likes?

I’d like to submit here that the message these waterways want to portray is encompassed in the words of a song my mother taught me when I was a child. One of the lines went something like this: ‘Give said the little stream, give oh give, give oh give; Give said the little stream as it hurried down the hill; I’m small I know but wherever I go, give oh give, give oh give…….’.

Why don’t you take to heart the message of the stream and give to a worthy course by clicking on the link below and donating in some small way?

This appeal is scheduled to close in about 18 days’ time! Please donate before it closes!


GIVING: Lessons learnt from the movement and/or non-movement of water…

In my last blog I made a layman’s attempt at describing ‘desperation’ as perceived through the eyes of a working mother in the Solomon Islands who lost her children and father during the recent flash flooding of the Matanko [Matanikau] River, in Honiara, on April 4, 2014.
I also made an attempt, albeit feeble, to excite the inherent benevolent characteristic that may lay dormant in some of you. Let’s face it some people lack compassion; so much so, that regardless of how you approach them they will not give in any way, shape, or form!
As an extension of that discussion I will try to address the concept of giving in terms of the people that give.
Giving is defined as ‘parting with something without expecting anything in return’.
On the onset I will make an empirical categorisation of the different kinds of givers that I see and will address each one in the next series of blogs that I will be writing. All with the aim of trying to drum up financial support for the victims of the said flash flooding and general flooding right around the island of Guadalcanal, a province of the Solomon Islands.
You already know that the monies that the governments of developed countries-donor countries- around the world give or donate to developing countries come from the pockets of their citizens. In fact according to, industrialised countries around the globe have pledged, since 1970, 0.7% of their gross national incomes (GNI). GNI is a measure of any country’s income that it receives both domestically and from abroad.
The monies the industrialised countries give, are formally called ‘official development assistance’ (ODA), and range from 0.13% of GNI (Greece) to as high as 1.00% of GNI (Luxembourg) ( The main countries that officially assist the pacific region include Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Their percentages are 0.28%, 0.28% and 0.17% respectively ( . To them the citizens of the Pacific region at large and Solomon Islands specifically will be forever grateful!
However, I am not interested in the big picture I am more interested in the citizens who give to enable their governments to give in return. They make up the first category of givers for purposes of this discussion; those who give because they are obligated to. They are analogous to rivers that flow incessantly down to the sea. More of them in the next blog!
You may not fall under this category but your assistance is still very much needed by the victims of the April 4, 2014 floods in the Solomon Islands. Will you help? Click on the link below to do so.


The synonyms for desperation include worry, fear, anxiety, distraction, nervousness, harassment and extreme anxiety.

Try this for desperation. It had been raining for three straight days! A mother leaves her house for work, as usual, on the third day. There had been no day off announcement from her bosses, although the inclement weather could have influenced one, and hey, she had to put food on the table for her children and dear father-the children’s grandfather. For all intents and purposes it was just another ordinary Thursday; in fact the first Thursday of the April of AD 2014. A routine 8:00 to 5:00 day, just like any other!

There had been no flood warning. In fact the Mataniko River had never burst its banks; not in living memory anyway. All things considered; the Mataniko River was tame! Even during cyclones Bernie (1982) and Namu (1986) she hardly caused a stir! All she did was assume a dirty brown hue and maybe gently covered her banks to put new silt, but still continued to meander her merry way without causing too much damage.

When she flooded the only other tell-tale sign was the widening of the river mouth.

In fact if you were a resident of the river bank you would be duped into thinking the river did not flow at all until you saw a leaf floating by. So when the government-some years back-gave warnings not to build houses on the flood plains of the river, nobody took notice.

On that fateful Thursday the river burst its banks in an unexpected and unprecedented flash-flood! She washed away all before her as if she was venting her pent up anger, and frustrations, anger and frustrations that had simmered and built up over the years. Houses, chattels, and people-the most vulnerable being the elderly and the children-were swamped and carried out to sea; there was no discriminating. Those swept away included the mother’s father and her children and their house.

Where is the desperation you ask? How about hoping that they, her loved ones are still alive? How about please Lord just let at least one of my family members survive, as the days grew into weeks? How about where will I get the money to rebuild my house-there being no insurance cover? How about money for food for the next few weeks (most Solomon Islanders do not have any meaningful savings)? How about will there be any financial assistance from the government to help me start over? How about the help, although she hopes, that may never come from the government because some government minister (or ministers) wants to use the victims, including her, as pawns in a political game to trump up support in the coming elections? How about the trauma of self-blame-‘why them and not me they are just children’? How about, is there any future at all, the future looks so bleak? How about is there anybody out there who will help to some degree?

I could go on ad nauseam but I think you catch my drift.

To compartmentalise her situation via the synonyms of desperation above would be grossly inadequate. Her situation is all of those synonyms put together and then some.