October 2, 2022

The Stranger lives his life alone. He has no job or possessions, no titles to be called by. He seems to have no family or home, no village or town, no country to call his own. The stranger is a wayfarer. Meeting the stranger is like meeting a traveller who tells you about something from a distant land. An important thing, however, to learn about the stranger, is that he also reminds you of things, though you may be aware of, but are not paying adequate attention to, even when they have adverse consequences for your future. That is the irony about the stranger. The stranger is a prophet among us.

A man comes into our town. He walks around all day long, singing his songs of love. But no one listens to him, for he does not speak our language. No one speaks to him either, for he is not one of us. We do not know where he comes from, or who his parents, or brothers and sisters are. But he has them all. He looks at things differently. He dresses differently. He wears a different hair style. He carries a big bag on his shoulders. That bag also looks strange. It seems to contain everything. Some of the things we have seen before, and others we have never seen. But what makes the man a stranger? Is it his look, or the language he speaks which we do not understand, or the clothes he wears, or the bag he carries? He is not a stranger after all. He is just one of us, for we all have different looks. We speak a different language that most people don’t understand. We put on different clothes which do not show who we really are or where we come from, and we carry the world strapped at our back. But what prevents us from seeing that the man is one of us?

Look at the birds of the air. They sing all day long. We do not understand their language, or know the songs they sing,or where they come from. Yet we like to hear them; the sparrow, the swallow, the weaver bird, the dove. Their songs fill the air with sweet me dodies. Who has ever seen them as strangers? Look again at the flowers around us and in our fields. See how beautiful they look. No one ever ask where they come from or who gives them colour. We smell their fragrance and say that it is natural to them. Bees taste their nectars and produce honey, which delight us. The flowers are here today and gone tomorrow. But the stranger is always with us, for he is one of us, after all. Let us see how he is one of us. Let us look at him in the face. Do we not see that his eyes are our eyes, his nose our nose,his lips our lips, his hair our hair? But what makes the man different in our eyes? What makes him a stranger? Is it prejudice, hatred, fear, anger, nepotism, tribalism, religion or bribery and corruption? Throw all these away, and see what remains of the stranger. There will be nothing, nothing, and nothing at all. The man is just like us; a brother, a sister, and not a stranger. He is me. He is you. He is us. We are one.