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Since I am very interested about different cultures I research.  Today I came across an African term and a story that fascinated me. The word is Ubuntu.

An anthropologist was studying a tribe in Africa in order to find out their ways of living. So, he gathered all the children and proposed a game. He placed a huge basket full of candy under a tree and suggested a competition: whoever runs the fastest and gets to the basket can have all of the candy.  The children listed to the instructions carefully and lined up to run. When he said Go the children held hands and ran together towards the basket and celebrated together! The anthropologist found that action extremely curious to say the least and looked in disbelief as the children were sharing in happiness the candy from the basket. One of the children noticed his perplexity and said to him: Ubuntu! How could one child be happy when all of the others would be sad?
Ubuntu is a word that represents a philosophyan ethical way of living that relies on : “I am who I am because we are all we! “ A person with Ubuntu understands that he/she is affected when a loved one is affected.  A person with Ubuntu respects others, shared with others, is compassionate with one another, and can emphasize with others.  Ubuntu says that in order for you to be a human being is like being another person.
All of that lead me to elevate my thoughts to God and His teachings. God is three even though He is only one God. Its amazing how He can be One in Three. He is an eternal communion of Three divine beings.  When Jesus prayed to God He prayed so we could be one as He was One with the Father. This concept of unity yet pluralism is amazing. The fact that God cares for us indicates to me that we should also care for others.
That we should develop compassion and understanding about each others pain and suffering. That is the Ubuntu philosophy! According to the Hebrews we were made from each other. God created Adam and then created Eve from Adam. Maybe this is the root of the term “us”. It’s very difficult to be happy when you are alone, no-one comes to this world alone, no-one goes to heaven alone.
Humans can feel more complete if they can understand that we need other people in community to be more human.  We need to be a real person in order to be a person that can be what God has designed us to be.  It’s important to connect with people so you can feel more human and practice loving humanity.  The more you do for people, the closer you feel to God. God did not make us to be alone… Maybe that’s the reason why, when Jesus taught us to pray, He says that the Father is OURS and the bread is OURS.  However, when we ask for forgiveness, He is asking for OUR trespasses. Jesus is the answer for forgiveness and He is The One who can teach us the need to love people. His love and sacrifice for us brings freedom to be in community and love humanity.
Lesson learnt- Apply togetherness, apply compassion, apply humanity, apply UBUNTU!
Renata Cerveira, MA, LMHC


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