It’s manifold for me, and I’ll try to explain. First off, there’s the anger that arises from the ‘yet we have a government and there’s a stark difference between the rich and poor, and inequality, etc.’ part of me.
There’s also the ‘why is this person with this ailment/this old/this young on the streets begging’ part, because I wonder where their families are, etc.
There’s the outrage when I see a young person with two hands, two legs, speaking (English or whatever language), doing nothing but begging. It really annoys me. Why? Blue, white, pink, or even orange collared, there must be something… I broke off on that sentence because sometimes I’m not really sure. Truth is there are no jobs readily available anywhere, but even more in Nigeria. And things like electricity, access to seed funding, etc. mean that entrepreneurs don’t really have it easy, except your daddy is a billionaire. I agree. I still however believe there must be something someone can do. I don’t know, what do you think?
While you’re thinking, here’s what happened to me a few days ago. I had one of the longest days, planning an event. Was running to and fro with my staff buying stuff, getting things ready. And then in the market we see a young man pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair, brandishing hospital papers that were barely legible. I did try to read it from the car but I couldn’t. I noticed a little child in their company though, carrying a walking stick taller than him. I gave them a little token, and we moved on.
After I dropped off my staff, I had to stop to get a new SIM, and to switch between two networks. When I came out of the store, a young man walked up to me, begging. To be honest I thought he wanted to rob me and I was already doing a quick recap of the boxing techniques I picked up recently. Then I figured he was begging and I just shook my head, got into my car, and drove off.
About two minutes from where I left, a very young boy came up to clean my windscreen, and I said no. Normally the next thing they do is beg for money, but this one just walked off really quickly to the next car. And immediately I asked myself a few questions, including what a child that young was doing on the streets past 8pm in the name of hustling.
And then I desperately wanted to give him the groundnuts I’d bought, and a bit of money. Problem, how to get his attention cos he wasn’t looking my way, didn’t turn when I honked, and there was gridlock traffic so I couldn’t move. I finally got to him, and gave him both. His smile (big, wide, pure, with his stained teeth), made me tear up. From my side mirror I watched him look in the wrap I gave him, then start shouting.
Paranoid me, I couldn’t make out what he was saying so I started panicking, especially since I saw a bigger boy running towards him. But that one got to him, and my little friend gave him some of the groundnuts and both of them started eating. And then I started crying.
And then I drove off.
I don’t know… I just don’t know…