Friday, 22 June 2007

Mendicants...

The inspiration to write this came up 2days ago.I was standing at my bus stop somewhere in lagos, having reached my there a little earlier than i ought to in order to beat the traffic and reduce cost, i discovered to my utter amazement that there was no bus going my way. I was told that "the last bus just left"(usual story). Well i decided to redeem the time as well as my famished stomach by going over to buy roasted corn and pear.I collected my change from the seller and came back to take my spot waiting for the bus to show up.

I had barely began relishing and savouring the taste of the corn in my mouth when i heard the familiar sound of "aunty gimme money am hungry", i looked down to see a tiny, malnourished child probably 8-9 years (difficult to tell because of the state of her body) looking up towards me like i was hte messiah she needed to survive the next hour. To be honest with you, that was the last distraction i needed at that moment. Anyway she kept on begging and looking at me iin such a way as if to say if you cant give me money ,how about the corn in your hand.I was taking my time thinking about what to do this time. Just days before i had to share my precious gala between two children in similar circumstance but now it was taking me longer time to reach a conclusion on what to do.

Finally, sympathy got the better of me as i reached into my bag and gave the little girl a N20 bill , she gave me look that revealed how grateful she was and slowly walked away. I followed her with my eyes cos i wanted to see what the next "victim" would do to her. Instead she ran toward a tree where a tall and slender woman stood,leaning against a tree.I guessed that was her mother as she stretched the money i had given her toward the woman who collected it , like it was only a piece of paper and tucked it into a small bag she was holding for that purpose(i assumed).Immediately, she sent the little girl back to continue the "work " she was doing.

Just then my bus arrived and i sat down,somewhat comfortably after scrambling to get a space.I then began to think on the little girl i left behind.How much longer would she have before she would gave up this life and make a decision on the next step,maybe more corporate begging , maybe start a small trade,maybe,maybe,maybe.As i sat there i knew she had so many non-palatable options she would consider in order to survive. Would she have someone decent to talk to to help her out?Would she eventually break the circle of begging she had been born into?Or would she also bring up her children in the way she was brought up?I wondered.

As i kept on pondering, i took out time to thank God for my own life and the love he has for me.I told him i was grateful for family and friends and for the path he put me on. I told Him how much i appreciate the people he had brought my way, friends that i can count on to be strong for me; to help me in times of need; to pray with and for me; friends that i am accountable to.I told him i would not complain about how much better things could have been because things could be worse too. I asked Him to help me to be grateful in all things and at all times.

In the midst of all my meditation, i was so lost, that i did not hera when my bus stop was mentioned until the bus had passed and i woke up from my reverie and shouted the traditional "owa oh" .The driver stopped and i climbed out, grateful again.

3 comments:

  1. We do take a lot for granted in our unending daily struggle for survival. It's a "man-eat-man" world, and we really don't care about the people around us as long as we are ok. Lets be grateful for where we are even as we strive for something better, but more importantly lets care about the people around us and touch their lives anyway we can.

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  2. hey seyi thanks for the comment

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  3. We should really be grateful to God cos we didnt choose the families in which we were born into...

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