just say hello!

Posted in journal, opinion on November 19th, 2009 by george

S3600016Yesterday I walked to a local store to buy some milk for my morning coffee. Close to my destination, I encountered an elderly, African looking man waiting for a bus. He appeared both dishevelled and disgruntled.

On impulse, I looked him in the eye and said, ‘Hello!’ Instantly his weathered face broke into a beatific grin and he mumbled a reply. I didn’t stop, but continued on my way.

As I walked away from him, I realised that I had behaved as I did, because of his African demeanour. If this sounds racist, I don’t believe it is, unless in a positive way! I spent several summers in Ghana, West Africa, and got used to their way of saying hello. On a daily basis, total strangers would greet me as they walked by, and not just because I was white. There seemed to me to be a tacit understanding there that no opportunity to acknowledge a fellow creature should be allowed to slip by. I never felt threatened or targeted in any way. I just felt included. How different from the city streets of England! Read more »

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