Editorial: The happiest people in life

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In his autobiography, “Up From Slavery”, Booker T Washington devoted an entire chapter to the topic of helping others. Chapter Four was literally entitled “Helping others”. From that chapter came one of Booker T’s most famous quotes. Upon reflecting on the education which he received at the Hampton Institute in Virginia he wrote, “The education that I received at Hampton out of the text-books was but a small part of what I learned there. One of the things that impressed itself upon me deeply, the second year, was the unselfishness of the teachers. It was hard for me to understand how any individuals could bring themselves to the point where they could be so happy in working for others. Before the end of the year, I think I began learning that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others. This lesson I have tried to carry with me ever since.”
Those words, from a man who was born a slave and rose to become one of the most influential African-American educators of the late 19th century, were brought to mind when we heard of the recent work of George Bahri and his wife, Sandra. George must be one of the happiest men in Antigua & Barbuda. Not just because he is married to Sandra but because he has pursued happiness through doing good for others. Those who know him, know that he is one of the few people in Antigua that seems to be a perpetual good mood. Always a smile and a friendly hello.
If you did not catch the news, George arranged a donation of essential medical equipment for the country’s lone public hospital, the Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC), to the tune of US $223,400.  That is more than EC $600,000! An extremely valuable contribution to a needy institution that will go a long way towards improving the quality of services and patient experience at MSJMC.
This is not the first time that George and his wife have used their relationship with the prestigious Mayo Clinic in the United States to secure hospital donations. According to the Minister of Health, Molwyn Joseph, Mr & Mrs Bahri’s efforts have secured over EC $1 million in donations to the hospital since 2006. Our information would indicate that the minister is being extremely conservative with his estimates.
Mr Bahri truly represents the best of us here in Antigua & Barbuda. The minister said it and we would like to echo his sentiments, as should everyone in the country. No doubt, George is a special guy. His dedication to the public hospital is well known. He and his family are strong supporters of the renal unit and a fund-raising activity cannot pass without their promotion and support.
The Director of MSJMC, Dr Albert Duncan summed up the good work of Mr Bahri when he said, “This is a great example of a citizen who is not in need of anything from the hospital, who has gone out of his way to solicit things from another institution, with no cost at all to the hospital, and it is a good example of citizenship and a friendship.”  Very well said.
George and his wife Sandy are no strangers to OBSERVER. Sandy did an impressive stint as host of OBSERVER Radio’s Marketplace programme. These good deeds are in keeping with the character and patriotism that their entire family possesses.
There are many that preach doom and gloom in Antigua & Barbuda and who believe that politics have spoilt paradise and that there is no good left.  We hope that the example set by George and Sandy will erase those feelings and give birth to a renewed sense of being our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.  We hope that people will see that we cannot rely on or blame the government for everything and that a bit of hard work can make a tremendous difference to the lives of many.
The Observer Media Group of Companies would like to say thank you to George Bahri and his wife Sandy. Thank you for your selflessness and thank you for demonstrating the good that exists in Antigua & Barbuda.  Please keep doing what you do and remain happy.
To our readers, if you see George and Sandy on the street, please take the time to thank them for all of their efforts because they do make our bit of paradise an even better place.

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