The Dignity of Work

Last Saturday we celebrated the International Workers’ Day. This day is also the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker who is the patron of all the workers and the example of a wordworking man. Here in Simanjiro we marked the day in style. For the first time we had Demonstrations on the in Emboreet and Loiborsoit villages to sensitize out people on the value of work as well as educate them on matters health and formal education. The main participants were Simanjiro Health Centre staff and Emboreet Secondary School Staff.

Our health workers educated the villigers on many health issues including how to prevent infections and identify symptoms early in order to seek treatment in time. The teachers talked about the importance of educating the children. The Parish Priest Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD talked about the dignity of work in General.

In Genesis 2:2, we read that “On the seventh day God fulfilled his work which he had made…”. God created work to be an integral part of human life and development. Animals do not work because God has created them to depend on his natural providence. Man and woman, however, have to work because God gave them the responsibility to take care of all his creation on his behalf. Working is one of the things that distinguish human beings from the rest of the animals. Unfortunately, some humans regard work as unwanted burden because they do not want to get tired.

When I was a young boy, my parents taught us the children the value of working hard and earning what we consume. My father made sure that we understood that working was not a punishment but a good thing. He is the most hardworking person I have ever met. He wanted all of us to feel part of the wealth we generated in our family.

It is very saddening to see today how young people regard work as a burden yet they would like to have their daily upkeep and live comfortable lives. Nevertheless, I do not think that these young people are to blame for their negative attitude towards work. It is the way they were brought up. I have heard many parents say that they do not want their children to suffer the way they suffered when they were growing up. What they regard as suffering is nothing else but the way they had to work hard to get where they are now. This is a very mistaken attitude and what they are doing with their children now will cost them in the future when these children grow up and refuse to work.

I believe that only the wealth realized through hard work lasts and has benefits to the society. Many people today want to work less but earn more. Many do not want to get tired yet they want to eat and drink. You hear people complain that they are very tired after working and you wonder what one is supposed to feel after hard work if not feel tired.

It is the responsibility of the parents and the authorities to establish a work-oriented environment in order to inculcate hard work in the young people. Some people also are not able to adapt to changes in the economy because of the nature of the environment where they grew up. For instance, here in Simanjiro majority of the people have been pastoralists for many generation. The only thing men had to do was to take the animals to the fields to graze and bring them back in the evening to be milked. Women did the other household chores including building the houses.

Now that the pastoralist economy is becoming increasingly unsustainable due to diminishing grazeland, many are turning to farming but they do not have the necessary stamina to farm. It will take time for them get used to this new economy. Only few local people are farming, the rest a leasing land to people from other farming provinces. During weeding, the workforce is also imported from the neighbouring provinces because the young people here cannot do it. We hope that slowly this will change.

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