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Kirubai Brian
Learning, unlearning, relearning bkirubai@jujamaica.com

Karis’ phone vibrates. It’s a Whatsapp message from George. It is tax season and everyone is filing their tax returns. George is offering to do it for Karis at a certain fee. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar they said. If only Caesar had limits for taking. Karis has to file nil returns for the fifth year running. Permanent jobs have been hard to come by. His last dismissal letter mumbled something about it not being his fault. He could care less. They had taken away his livelihood. He has now opted to turn to gambling like his friend Juma. Life in the gambling world seems to be going good for him.

Pauline just opened her Mini Shop. Everyone back home now thinks she is filthy rich. Her cellphone buzzes from aunt’s back aching to the distant uncle’s cow falling in a ditch. All solvable of course with a “kakitu” sent.  After all, money does make the world go round. She went to renew her business permit last week. The front office lady said she could fast track her license at a small fee. Despite all this the license guys still collect their dues during their rounds. She is getting stretched financially and no one seems to notice.

Aleki just honked his horn to let the driver in front of him develop a sense of urgency. He is on his second trip today. The traffic jam can sometimes be frustrating and being a public transport vehicle doesn’t make it any easier. He is a trip short of the day’s sum and the boss would hear none of it. He wouldn’t understand that the traffic police took “ya macho” for overtaking without indicating. An offence a thousand bob traded as a handshake accompanied by a warning couldn’t fix. An insult is thrown to sell the trick. No one spoke, everyone had seen.

Juma is smart. Street smart. He never fancied a life by the book and so decided to chart his own path. He turned to gambling. Life has been good for him. He even got married and had a kid. Now the monster called taxation has come. The government is planning to ride on his luck and swindle his earnings. He now wishes he had gone to school like his friend Karis. At least an odd job here and there would make ends meeting easier. For now he just has to ride his luck while fending for the government too.

Everyone is looking to exploit the other in the streets. Life is being viewed from an angle of what they can take rather than what they can give. Takers lacking manners while givers giving their hearts away. It’s time givers learn their limits because takers seem not to have any.


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