This weekend, all roads lead to the college campus for that one most revered of traditions, alumni weekend. My charges these last three days were the lovely ladies of the class of 1938 and 1948. For those whose math is challenged they graduated when they were 22, which makes them…crank that mental calculator…92 years and 82 years respectively. For shame so many of us young ones were struggling to keep up with them, not me, though, I used to hang with grandma when I was home so I was well covered. They are so at ease, I am learning the secret to a long life, do remember and be thankful for your blessings, and do not sweat the small stuff. The two oldest ladies live on their own still and they are so spry and happy with all the fussing we are doing over them.
I believe that the attitudes on ageing are so different here and at home. Here, in the US, nobody can imagine growing into a grey haired old lady, whereas at home, many of our mothers and grandmothers are the most regal when they are older. Of course widely accepted African culture assigns greater meaning to the older members of society and they get respect, are seen as sages, and are taken care of as major assets to the community. I want to be older in Kenya, where many an older person’s counsel is valued and cherished.
In these parts, an older person is maltreated and ill cherished. See the large number of old people’s homes, the number of older homeless people, and the way gray hair, wrinkles and age indicative effects are rejected wholesale by the vast majority of the people here. I would hate to be aged here. Even some people start the age conversation very early with their teens, with some mouthy young ones threatening to place their parents in homes when they are older when the parents threaten to revoke a privilege that the child has abused.There are no old people in ads except for drug company advertisements, over-65 ads and gardening ads. Its rather sad.
I think of my own grandma, and how she is cared for by her children and grandchildren and I am thrilled for her. I want to celebrate her wisdom, relish her yummy food and hugs and kisses for many more years and I want to have her advice in my life. Even if she were not as close to me as she is right now, I would never put her in a home, nor would I make her pay rent to live in my home, yes, that happens here…Gasp!
So wont you age gracefully today?
This week, I have been in research mode and I am happy to note that I am 25% ahead in my goal to raise money for breast cancer research here through the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The last few days have been phenomenal with the fundraising. I am so encouraged. Although there is a long road ahead for many of the people who are here, I am assured that we shall make a dent in the research dollars needed for breast cancer research. Why am I doing this, you may ask, if you are a new reader to the blog, you have to know what my mantra is. I believe that the money we raise will raise the early detection rates, bring us closer to a cure, and celebrate the lives of my friends, co-workers and family who have survived breast cancer, as well as those who are now angels. I am painfully getting fit, refusing to give up and growing along the way.