by Sr. Prisca Ovat, MMM Kenya 09.12.2022
In an era of social media, everyone (young and old) tends to express the desire to stay connected. I recall those days in college when those who owned phones (Nokia 3310, Motorola, and their likes), not smartphones, were regarded as “the big girls”, so the rest of us small girls just looked on as they posed around in their GSM as it was popularly called. Its resistance was prideful for its manufacturers, who advertised them as capable of replacing a stone to bring down a mango fruit from its branch. As people took pride in their GSM, we almost had no peace. They often gave the impression that one has to speak out loud to be heard and let whoever is around notice the phone without delay.
As Christmas drew near, friends and families were expected to receive Christmas cards and presents. With dysfunctional postal services like those found in some African countries, posts arrived a few days after Christmas, and most never arrived. And if they did, some would have been ripped open and whatever gifts of money enclosed removed.
Today, very few people pay attention to handwritten letters and postcards. Social media is the core of this century. We personalize messages, add emojis and stickers and send as many messages as possible within a short period. It is much appreciated, but much is lost in this new way. The excitement of reading from a family member or friend and the appreciation for the love, care, and thoughtfulness put into sending a letter across is still irreplaceable. These days too many WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, and their likes make it so hard to focus or pay keen attention to what a person has written because it takes no effort at all to drop a “hi”.
It is yet another Christmas. I shall soon see all those familiar electronic messages copied and forwarded many times, which cannot be authenticated. I hope that some handwritten letters and postcards will accompany them. I wish you all a Merry Christmas.