Everywhere we go we see them. Often tall, generally but not always young, clad in African robes or shorts and t shirts, these ebony skinned lucky lucky men are part of life here. Some sport rainbow coloured mochican wigs and all have watches, sunglasses, flashing toys and bright coloured wares for sale.
They approach diners and sunbathers alike, ‘good price, good price’ they say. There is no harm in any as I can see. Mostly they smile often and politely move along if there is no sale to be made. They are intriguing to me. I cannot help but wonder how they arrived, where they are from and what has gone before.
My daughter, has befriended a few of these lucky lucky men, they come into the bar where she works and she has introduced me to Bill and Joe and a few more. She sees them daily in her workplace and has got to know them well. She tells us that most have arrived from African shores by boat, often dangerously ill equipped and unsafe, they are now happy to have reached a place where they can make a living. Some earn lots of money, have wives, children and apartments in the town, others are not yet so successful and share bedsits as they work away at selling trinkets to tourists. The older ones are established here, some have been here fifteen and more years, some much younger newly arrived. It is a strange life, a long way from their home in Senegal for these boys, I find myself hoping they will be safe.
There has been a lot in the British press about people arriving in the UK from foreign shores. One political party is basing their election hopes on our fear of strangers, which is something I cannot understand. The world is a big place, we are all human, it is to our discredit that we have a system of belonging to a particular place or land over others who might like to live here also. Just like the Native Americans I believe no one can actually own land. It was here before us and will be here when we are all long gone, we are just borrowing it. I think that everyone is basically the same underneath, we all want what is right for our families, to find the best life we can.
Next time you are on your holidays and you are approached by the lucky lucky man in the bar, look him in the eyes, say hello, see the person not as a nuisance who is stopping you eatng your dinner. You may buy a bargain, or you may make a friend. Whatever you do be kind, and not nasty. Mind you that is a rule for life for me. Kindness is the most important thing and so often the opportunities are missed. A smile, a touch on the arm, an acknowledgement of a fellow human, be it the lucky lucky man or a stranger in your town. It is about time we all rubbed along together.