The joy of canvassing... and fried chicken
(Happy to serve: Darlene Lightbourne, from Warwick, graced the PLP canvassers with a home-cooked mea)
Forty-five thousand Bermudians are eligible to cast a ballot for referendums, by-elections and general elections. There are roughly 1,200 persons residing in 500 homes in each of our 36 constituencies.
Each one of those individuals expects and deserves a visit from all those persons who will be putting forth their names as candidates in the hope of being elected. After all, how can someone cast their ballot for someone who has not come forward to speak on the ideals, platforms and programmes that they are suggesting should be implemented under their respective parties?
On any given day when one goes out canvassing, they will probably find more persons not at home than at home. As any canvasser could testify, this could prove very frustrating at times. However, this simply means that you must commit yourself to returning until you find those persons at home.
Bermudians of all stripes are on a whole extremely welcoming to visitors to their homes. Depending on political leanings and/or if they have the time to talk, they tend to either have brief doorstep conversations or invite canvassers into their homes.
On one Saturday, we were canvassing in the Cedar Hill area of Warwick. At the very first door that we knocked on, we were greeted by a female voice: “Who is it knocking on my door?”
We replied that we were there on behalf of the Progressive Labour Party and just needed a few minutes of her time.
Darlene Lightbourne invited us into her home, where we had a conversation for about ten minutes. As we were walking out, she told us that we need to return in exactly one hour, as she had something further to discuss with us. To quote her: “Make sure you return by 1pm sharp, and don’t have me waiting.”
We then went on to visit a few more houses near by, keeping an eye on our watches to ensure that we returned to her house on time.
Upon our return, we were asked to have seat at her patio table as she ventured back inside.
A minute or so later, she emerged from her kitchen door holding two cups and a pitcher of drink. She then poured us each a cup of homemade lemonade before disappearing back into her kitchen.
A few minutes later, she returned holding a bowl, which she then placed in the centre of the table. Inside of this bowl sat four pieces of freshly fried chicken, which she then placed on plates in front of us.
It was that fried chicken that entices your eyes with its perfectly golden brown skin and the heavenly scent of food that smelled almost too perfect to eat. Something that one would find on a magazine advert for “Mama’s home-cooked chicken”.
She held our hands and offered grace for not only the food, but for the company that came to visit her. As we sat there enjoying the meal provided, she spoke of how touched she was that we came to visit her family. Like other Bermudians, she faces challenges but keeps focused on doing what needs to be done to make ends meet.
She continued to entertain us, sharing some colourful stories of the Cedar Hill community and who can cook which dishes in the neighbourhood. As we parted, she reminded us how much it meant to her for us to stop by.
Anyone who has canvassed can relay their own stories of the warmth and generosity of our fellow Bermudians. It is those sorts of acts of kindness that propel us to continue to knock on each of those 22,000 doors.
After all, 45,000 Bermudians deserve nothing less.
•Christopher Famous is a Progressive Labour Party organiser. Reach out to him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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