Give Us This Day...
Our daily bread comes to our doorstep in the morning. On a bicycle. The man who brings it is just one of the many vendors sent out by the many small old world bakeries that dot the city we live in. They’ve held on in the face of competition from the big guys and the array of different breads in the supermarkets. We don’t buy from him every day because I get enough for a few days and freeze but I do know people who wait for him every morning so they can have that hot, crusty bread for breakfast.
Maybe the loaves don’t look as symmetrical or as perfect as the ones in the stores but the freshly baked smell is to die for. Even when it comes out of the freezer, all you need to do is thaw it for a bit, slice and toast – and you’re in bread heaven! There’s a choice – small loaves that are melt-in-the-mouth, crusty loaves that are soft on the inside, puff pastry squares that are delicious with tea, flat breads that have such a wonderful flavour, buns with sesame seeds scattered on top and they taste divine with a dab of butter.
The thing is, how long will our bread man survive? Will the younger generation continue to buy from him? Or will he fade into a ‘the way things were’ memory? Will high-rise gated societies and huge supermarkets take away his livelihood? Whose responsibility is it to see that not only does he survive but keeps doing better? It just has to be our responsibility. I’ve realised that electing leaders and expecting them to do anything for anyone just doesn’t work anymore. Politicians are a number-crunching breed apart whose only worry is where the votes come from and how to get them. Not for them the headache of seeing that our taxes go to help the unfortunate ones amongst us. So that leaves us. And if we pull together, we can be a force to reckon with.
Why promote the small businesses around you? Because in the long run, it means you are shaping your surroundings to become better. By supporting people like the bread man and helping him earn his livelihood, it means his family eats better, his children get educated and they have enough to stay healthy and happy. Without that, what does a man do to feed his hungry family? Can you blame a man turning to crime?
When the oft-used phrase Think Global, Act Local was used in a business context, it meant that multinational giants were putting down roots at the local level to improve their bottom line. What we need is an upturning of that system. What we need are local roots that need to be nourished so we need to think local first. We need to become more aware, we need to spread the word and if need be, we need to make it fashionable to buy local produce and to encourage the small people in business around us. If we need things around us to change, we cannot wait for a faceless government to do it for us. We need to do it ourselves. So it empowers us as much as it does the ones at the grassroots levels around us. When we empower the microcosm, the macrocosm will automatically get better. Our positive actions with a local focus will only help us act better in a global sense.
For me, I’d be happy to continue seeing that smile on the face of my bread man and the many like him.