I had the opportunity to share a message last weekend called Keeping Hope Alive. A number of people told me it encouraged them so I thought I would adapt it for my column this week in the hope that it will also encourage you.
If we look at the situation in Barbados, it may remind us of the story in Ezekiel where the children of Israel said that their bones had dried up and their hope was gone. Then the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of a valley of bones which were very dry and the Lord instructed him to speak to the bones and command them to come back to life and they did.
This is a story of a very hopeless looking situation which was turned around by speaking life into it. Now although things look dire in Barbados, and they are, let us not lose hope. I read in the paper only this week that for the first time in five years, the economy grew by two per cent for the first quarter of the year and the foreign reserves had increased slightly to over $700 million.
Thank God for the cricket in March which brought hundreds of English visitors to Barbados and for the Banks beer and other Bajan attractions like Oistins that they enjoyed! We can overlook the shame about the cricket for that. The report from the Central Bank gives us a bit of hope, but hope alone is not enough. We have a role to play and it becomes easier as our hope grows. So we need to keep hope alive.
How do we do that? We can start by focusing on the good things that we have and the good things that are happening and give thanks for them. While all is not as we would like it, let us be thankful that we have water, electricity, health care to a certain standard, food etc.
I just watched a video of what is happening in Venezuela and I was horrified to see the long lines of people waiting to get basic food stuff. I was shocked to see people being beaten and killed for protesting about the conditions in the country and for demanding answers from the government. May Barbados never come to that point even though we currently have the same credit rating as Venezuela!
Seeing the conditions in Venezuela should not only drive us to our knees in thanks but move us to do practical things like grow our own food to reduce our food bill and possibly even our import bill. We can easily buy seedlings or seeds and begin to plant vegetables, herbs and other food items. My husband used to have eggplants, carrots, sweet peppers and all kinds of herbs but the busyness of work put an end to that. It is time to start the garden again.
What also gives me hope is that we, the citizens of Barbados, are beginning to shake off our complacency and come together to do something. That includes forming groups not only to look at governance and other issues which have contributed to where we are now, but also to find solutions to our problems. I have conducted many workshops to help women change their financial situation and I have come to the conclusion that if the pain is not great enough, they will do nothing.
I am therefore thankful that just the threat of pain (structural adjustment) has spurred us to action. Our actions need to include finding ways to not only reduce our expenses but also to earn income, especially foreign exchange, starting at the personal level. We need to begin to hold our leaders accountable for the way they manage our money and demand answers without fear of reprisals.
We need to demand honest and open communication so that we know what is really going on and how we should prepare. On that note, I was happy to see the Central Bank holding a press conference to communicate the state of the economy, especially since there was good news to report. I hope we continue to hear good news, but in the event that the news is not the best, we still need to hear it.
I am reminded of the story of the tower of Babel where the people had got together to try to build a tower. There are principles in that story that we can grasp and apply. They were of one mind and they spoke the same language. Therefore, nothing that they planned to do was impossible for them. If we are of the same mind (we want the same things for Barbados – peace, prosperity, good leadership etc) and we are speaking the same language (understanding each other clearly), then nothing we plan to do as a people will be impossible for us.
So let us try to keep our hope alive and work together with one mind and speak the same language so that turning Barbados around will not be impossible for us.
(Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She was the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014 – 2016) and is the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website www.donnaevery.com; www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1)