THE recent hail storm which claimed the lives of five people in Mount Moorosi in the district of Quthing is a sad reminder of the vulnerability of most of our people to freak natural disasters. At the same time it should be a call to all of us to do whatever we can to assist fellow Basotho in times of distress instead of folding our hands in the expectation that assistance will come from outside our borders as we often do.
It was heartening to see Her Majesty, Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso, taking the lead as the mother of our nation in mobilising assistance for the victims of the storm. It was equally heartening to note that the government set aside M3 million for relief efforts.
Some of the major corporate organisations like Vodacom Lesotho also demonstrated that they do not only think of the public as customers as they also chipped in with assistance. The Red Cross rose to the occasion as they have always done whenever such unfortunate incidents occur.
However, in all this we still note with concern the fact that ordinary Basotho do not appear to have responded to the plight of the affected communities, leaving it as it were, everything to Her Majesty, the government, the different organisations as well the Chinese community.
Her Majesty has always been in the forefront of humanitarian efforts as the mother of the nation. The Chinese embassy and the Chinese business community have also proved to be our all-weather friends sticking with us in sunshine and rain, in joy and pain.
But where are ordinary Basotho in all this? Surely we cannot always be waiting for our international friends to bail us out. We cannot always be looking to our mother to always take the initiative and yet we do not follow her example.
We need to develop a new culture of giving as a people rather than always wait for others. Giving to those in need is not about donating millions. It is not something that must always be done by the rich only. We have enough examples including from the scriptures where very poor people still gave out what they could afford to assist others.
While it is not our place to lecture people on how to spend their hard-won earnings, we often ask how our people can live with their consciences when they fail to look out for their fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers in such times and yet they can fill up the nightspots and other places of leisure night after night and spend huge amounts on copious amounts of liquor.
We cannot go on forever extending the begging bowl without lifting a finger to help our own and still expect to be treated as a dignified people. We certainly need a sea change in the way we do things. In fact we just need to go back to the founding values of our Kingdom which was built on compassion and generosity including providing refuge and hospitality to strangers.