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Ordinary People


There is something very refreshing about the world celebrating the ordinary, hard-working man especially when he triumphs in the face of adversity. The Chilean miners are a case in point. Today I've been addicted to the footage of them emerging uncomplaining and jubilant from a claustrophobic rescue capsule after their 69 day ordeal half a mile underground. Plus, they are all looking rather stylish in light of their ordeal, swarthy, clean shaven, cool in Oakley sunglasses.

Showing remarkable modesty, Chilean miner Mario Sepulveda, 40, said shortly after being winched out,

‘I make a plea to the media to not treat us as like an artist or a show business figure. I would like you to show me how I am: a miner. I will continue to work as a miner.’

Perhaps it’s just me getting old, but don’t you feel that you’d rather read about the 'ordinary', unsung heroes in life in the press, rather than the constant bombarding we get of celebrities or attention grabbing first person accounts (in women’s magazines and newspaper supplements) promoting revoltingly lose morals or woeful tales of self inflicted social ills. Headlines like;

‘My drug taking and party lifestyle nearly killed me’ or ‘my open marriage keeps us together.’

Okay, I’ll admit to being vaguely interested to read that Paris Hilton was arrested for possession of cocaine recently; less impressed when I heard that she’d basically got off with a caution.

One of my favourite unsung heroes is Gladys who works in our house. She worked in the house before we moved in and so we’ve known her for nearly eight years now. Gladys is a person that my mum might describe as ‘old fashioned’, basically she’s honourable with a good set of morals. For example, she’s always on time, when I try to pay her something extra for overtime she refuses to take the cash and we fight over it pushing notes at one another across the table. She’s reliable and a good person.

A strong character, my husband finds her quite maddening at times because she always takes my side, is a stickler to routine and doesn’t like change much. When the kids start fighting she is able to talk in shouting tones over them that raise noise levels through the roof. In her sixties, she’s always game to jump on the trampoline with the kids or run up and down to the gate alongside a trike or bike (often bent double pushing!). When my mother-in-law came to stay with us to look after our daughter, she and Gladys almost had a physical fight over her at bath-time. Gladys was not letting go of the baby. Her parenting skills put mine to shame, but somehow we make an okay team.

She’s had a lot of tragedy in her life, she’s supporting three grandchildren upcountry since her daughter and then son-in-law both died but she keeps on keeping on and our home would be the same without her.

It’s these are the people who we ought to applaud because they make up a world, not spoiled celebs. Don’t you agree?

Read more about how it might be for the 'ordinary' Chilean miners to deal with their 15 minutes of fame here: http://home.co.ke/index.php/african-expat/116-columns/603--famous-for-15-minutes

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