By Abdool A. Aziz
EVERY day this poor and decrepit farmer goes out looking for work. Some days he is lucky, others, he is not. This day he got no money and his sick wife depended on him for her medicine. He trudged home in agony. She needed her medication. What would he tell her? The sun was extremely hot, so he rested under a silk-cotton tree.
His eyes caught the looks of a purse. He picked it up unzipped it and found cash and documents. His heart raced with joy. At last, money! He took out some as he walked on air and headed to the drug store.
THE WAR OF CONSCIENCE
He sat by a bridge and the angel of morality and the devil waged a battle in his head. He was confused, the angel won. He put back the money into the purse and headed straight to the police outpost. He handed over the find. The police laughed at him for his honesty. But there were great rewards to follow. He told his wife what he did, she too praised him. He told her he wanted to use some money to buy medicine. She said “Good, that is not our money, that medicine would not have been good, ‘can’t a’ money,” she said.
The owner of the purse was a doctor. On his way to see a patient, he stopped to use his cell phone under a tree. He misplaced the purse. He did go back to the spot where he stopped but the purse was already in the hands of the tall, lanky old peasant. The doctor was contacted by the police. At the station he found all contents intact.
Though the money was valuable, the documents were of greater importance as it related to his upcoming immigration to Canada. He took all the particulars of this Good Samaritan. He went straight to his house – a troolie roof, mud floor hut. The old man was out searching for work. His wife was in bed with a fever.The visitor did not go into the hut as it was closed.
He returned the evening and met them. He began to show his profound gratitude. He began to treat the old lady and bought some ration. Eventually, he employed the husband as a gardener. The sick wife recovered from her illness. He offered to build them a wooden house but they turned down the offer. They would not part with their humble abode. They begged the kind doctor to donate the money to the needy children of the village.
When the God-fearing couple moved on, the house became a heritage site with a huge sign before its door: “The home of the Takerams- Honest folks lived by the sweat of their brows”. That house or rather, a shrine is still there and maintained by ‘Dr. Ramsey’s Good Citizen Foundation” and on the wall, there is a mural of a decrepit man giving a cent and receiving a dollar by the Angel of Honesty.
It is a good lesson for all and the village is proud to have Mr. Takeram as their own. He and his wife are buried in the doctor’s compound which is now abandoned as the benefactor is living abroad. Praise came to them due to the safe return of the purse and the immigration papers.