Dear honourable member of PHPc (and dear kind reader),
I thank you for being part and parcel of The PHP Community, for doing all that you do for PHPc and PHP and for so many of us. You are forever remarkable for being you, for doing all that you do for the community – each and every one of you.
This morning (5.10am) as I sat down, pen on paper first, I want to let my thoughts flow. I want to narrate a small real story (as per my mind’s map) and linking it to what so many of us are doing for the community.
I am not going to rethink what I have written while typing this on my blog in the next few minutes.
Thoughts this is. From the heart, it is. Let’s do this.
## What drives us?
Why do we do all that we do for the community? What drives us?
The answer can be diverse. It all boils down to 2 things:
Because without it nobody would be in communion with something
Each one of us has a set of values – irrespective of the culture and belief. We do have our own set of values. It defines who we are, to what extent we are prepared to go the extra mile for what we stand for.
## This Morning, In My World
This morning, at 5am sharp, I just bought bread (hot & crispy) from my “bread-friend”.
I used to go buy bread. That would ripe off 30-40mins of my precious morning time – something which I am not comfortable with doing, considering how valuable morning time is.
I am normally more of a night-owl. I am trying to be a morning person. (This year has forced me to fight. This year has been, I think the worse in my life. I have never been so emotionally drained, at a workplace. I need to regain my independence.)
So, a few mornings, I noticed the beeping sound from a motor-cycle. This sound clocks in precisely at 5am for all the mornings that I was up. I was curious. Was it selling milk or bread? What if it was bread. I went on the roof, tracked down his path-way and intercepted him. That’s how I met my bread-friend.
Now, what does he have to do with our story?
## My bread-friend has a story
My bread-friend is an old-man — a man with courage, determination and resilience. I remember him having a daughter (whom I never saw or met) who married a foreigner – a bread maker (is baker the appropriate word?). He will not recall having narrated that to me like 8years or more ago. They used to have a small bread factory inside their home and sold yummy cakes and bread.
At the start of this year (2020), a couple of times that I went to buy there, he was all alone – all the dozen of times I went there. The vivid atmosphere that used to prevail there was also gone. One of those days, I asked him what happened. “I no more make bread, I resell them now” – he told me with a sad face. Then there was a profound silence – a silence which did not give me the courage to ask for more details.
This morning it was raining. But I knew deep down in my heart that my bread-friend will be here, with a usual smile of gratitude that emanates from his face. He seems to be passionate about providing good bread and serving his community.
I have so much to learn from this man. He has a story like so many of us. He is clinging on to his values. One of them could probably be to make sure his vicinity continues to have good bread, even if his family and factory is not around.
## My bread-friend serves his community
He is doing me (and all the busy families) a big favour. He is bringing hot baked bread right in my hands, in front of my door. Who does that any more? Who goes that extra mile any more?
Why would he wake up every morning, including weekends, at around 4am, to buy around 200 pieces of bread and reselling them for 0.075 USD each? (1USD ~= Rs40). He could have chosen to sell or resell something else and at a different hour of the day.
Now, the amount of (200×0.075) USD per day is absolutely not enough to live a decent life in Mauritius. A place where things are getting crazy expensive. Our currency (the Mauritian rupee) is on the decline, together with the quality of life.
What drives that man? He travels so many km in the early wake of the morning to make sure a couple of villages around his, get good bread, irrespective of weather conditions.
## Paying-it forward? Or is there something more..
Just like my morning bread-friend, there are so many of us who hustles for the community. Many of us, who is serving it not for money, but for a cause deep down in ourselves – for values that we believe in.
We know how precious each and every one of us is. We would go any extra mile to lend a hand and be always helpful.
We are not just paying it forward. We are serving for the passion and for the values that define us.
Because deep down, we know what community is family. And that not everybody is fortunate to have a cosy family.
But we are lucky enough to be part of a big family, that is the PHP Community.
Community matters. Wake up, rise up, help at least one person around you – because that’s what defines us!
Thank you for taking the time to read this long thought of mine.
I do not know if I will be consistent in writing down thoughts – but all I know is that today, my heart decided to speak out after a long, long while.
Be safe and be blessed, my friend!
Excellent thoughts. Great. Your story brought me down memory lane.
I was the one, in my teen age, to head for the bakery on my uncle’s bicycle to make sure every family in our yard got their bread. Once on a rainy day while rushing I went straight in the sugar cane field (terrified, but fortunately not hurt), otherwise I would have been knocked down by an overtaking lorry from the opposite side.
It overlooked me and came right in my direction. Sometimes I arranged to have bread at our doorstep from a bread distributor, and for that I had to wake up early, well before sunset, often in cold weather, to wait for his passage.
Although regular, he didn’t turn up at the same time everyday. That was the kind of passion, and the kind of values we were held to, unknowingly.
The “bread friend” is becoming extinct.