Contributing to someone's education

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In my home town Harare, Zimbabwe there is quite a large divide between the rich and poor. While in one area you see the wealthy splurging on expensive cars and homes, in another you bare witness to many impoverished people struggling to feed their family and struggling to pay fees to send their children to school. A few days ago I was at the store with my mother and as we were walking down an aisle a man with a perplexed look on his face was eyeing a section of calculators and he turned to us and said "Which one is the best scientific calculator?" I pointed out the one I thought was best and so he thanked me. I looked at the price tag and said "and for only $11 that's a fair price, because it's really good." He said "Oh, is that a fair price? Okay. Thank you." After a bit of conversation we learnt that he was buying it for his son who had important examinations coming up later in the year. His son was apparently, up to now, a straight A student but was struggling in mathematics because he didn't have a calculator (an essential). Thinking we had assisted, my mother and I moved on. We were still in the aisle, just not that section. I noticed that as soon as we left he turned and was now walking towards the exit. This man could not afford the $11 calculator his son so desperately needed. We were on a budget with our shopping but I asked my mother "quick, please may I have $11, I'll pay you back at home." Without hesitation she gave me the money. I ran full speed to catch the man before he disappeared, off on his journey which would likely end in him arriving home to his eager son only to crush his excitement because he couldn't purchase the item which was so greatly needed. I caught up and said "Hey, I'll pay for you." Financial kindness in Zimbabwe is rare because frankly, money is hard to come by and hard to maintain, the economy is not very strong. He was in complete and utter disbelief. He asked me about four times, "are you serious? Are you sure?" and I said "yes, let's go to the till." When we got there, I looked into the man's eyes; they were slightly watery and he couldn't stop smiling and fidgeting. I paid and he was so grateful. He asked me for my number so he can message me one day to tell me how the exam goes. I gave him my name and number, we hugged and he was on his way. This story is about small scale influence. This act of kindness hasn't changed the world, however it may have altered the entire trajectory of that young man's life.. Without that calculator there's no way he would have passed a high level mathematics examination and now that he has it, even though he may still fail, it's wonderful to know that he has been given the opportunity at least. He has been given the opportunity to achieve, to excel and truly reach his full potential as a student. Who knows where he may end up one day all because a stranger bumped into his father and purchased a calculator for him. Thank you for reading. Have a happy and compassion filled day! Love Andile :)

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