Uwem Akpan had written a book of short stories that are fiction.  The title is:  Say You’re One of Them.  He feels we would “sit for a while with people we would rather not meet,” if we meet those same people in a book of fiction instead of in real life.

So who does Uwem Akpan want us to meet?  He is a Catholic priest who wants us to meet children.  Not just any children, but those who have experienced the horrors of life in war-torn Africa.

We meet in his book fellow human beings who have learned about the strength to carry on in life.  Young people, faced with the threat of trafficking or the multiple threats of war-torn life, still can manage to find goodness in life.  We read about Good Samaritans like Mallam Abdullaki who can save people, whether Muslim or Christian, by hiding them under his family’s prayer mats.  We read about Smiley Kpee who has a change of heart in trafficking his nephew and nieces.  We read that  “Hugzee, hugzee,” can still be sent to a Muslim Best Friend Selam who is able to understand a covert conversations from her balcony.  And what do we learn?

We learn to appreciate that what makes these children so strong is that they do carry on, as far as they are able, because they discover an inkling of kindness and of goodness in life from other people around them..  And they can appreciate knowing that fellow humans can be kind and attempt to save lives, even if not at first.

Yes, we are the world and we can look.  We can read these five fictional stories and let them soak into our energetic being.  We can understand that evil exists and then look for and focus on all the kindnesses of people that we meet.