Sunday, March 10, 2013


Maybe he was a scammer; and what if he was telling the truth. What if he's not Scammer, but was lying? Well whatever he was or was not, he got my money. I am, as a matter of principle, not a alms-giver. As a matter of faith, I don't believe in professional begging. And as a matter of preference, I abhor beggars. I shun beggars not because they mostly feral scent, but as a matter of a fact I hold to self-evident truth.

I was just coming out of my gate this morning when I saw this lean-face young man: He can't have been more than 12, and he stank: hair kinky and unkempt, his bare feet was coated thickly coated in brown dust, the threadbare jean short he wore could use some washing, the equally soiled T-shirt that covered his lean torso was practically falling off his narrow shoulders- I have never seen such design of T-Shirt- the neck of the shirt was as wide as a boubou's, making the young man's ostrich-like neck looked more gaunt than it was- a pitiable sight- a sight. While such Charles Dickens characters are not phenomenal in the mega-city of Lagos, this young man called to my mind the image I have always conceived of Oliver Twist.

"Good morning bros" he greeted as I passed him. I turned, and look at him again, I saw need- genuine need lingering there in his hungry-looking eye; a craving that reached out to me- then I returned his greetings as my hand dipped in My pocket. I knew this scarecrow of a young man is not a beggar, but a disadvantaged child.

There are millions of destitute  children roaming the streets of Lagos. If you care look beyond their feral scent, deep in their eyes, you just might  see the nuggets buried beneath rubble of poverty. If you cared to sound them out, and listen to the echoes of their heart you just might hear the sound of hope and aspiration bubbling in there. You just might find out that many of these poor little people are bundles of gifts and talents.

I asked him if he lived on my street, he said "no", that he lived on Job street. Job Street is the street next to the one I live on. He asked me if I could help him with some money. I handed him a N100 note I fished out of my pocket. But I know I wasn't doing enough, not even half the most I could do in that circumstance . I don't feel cool
doing below my capacity. And that is why I don't do alms.  I am sure that scarecrow of a young man wouldn't be standing there taking my money, if he wasn't disadvantaged.

"So, what are you doing here, if you live on Job street?" I asked further, not knowing what more I could do for him. He told me his aunt with whom he lived had thrown him out of the house, "Why" I asked. He replied that his aunty had lost her money, and he had been suspected of having taken the money, and that he mustn't come back to the house until he gives back the money. I asked him how much is the missing amount. He said it was Two Hundred Naira. "Two hundred Naira? What the fuck!" I said to myself. I have given my three boys a total sum of N600 that morning for church offering and sundry collections, before leaving the house. So, for a child taking N200 he or she could be victimised? I wondered. What barbarity in this 21st Century? Oh My God! Oh dear!

I am not rich. I never grew up in a affluent home, but the loss of a wee N200 will never make a member of my family lose his or her humanity. What is the adult world made of? Nimrods? If the  story of the less privileged children in the world was to be different from the plot of social, political, economic and psychological
disenfranchisement they have witnessed in the few days they have lived in this wicked world of adults, I am sure we could all have been living in a heaven, where none will be in want. We don't need religion to get us to heaven or paradise or nirvana. We can make one for our selfs here on earth.

Glad I had left the house with a little extra money along with my transport fare. I dipped in my pocket again and fished out a N200 Note and handed it to him. What blessedness it was to see the light come up in his eyes? He rewarded me with something I will always treasure: a big, honest toothy smile  (he Got teeth like mine- Donkey Teeth) I saw  relief made his face glow, and his, rather sagging shoulders, squared out, in an instant, he looked like he could take on the world now. He looked a sort of scrawny copy of Atlas. And I liked him. He stretched
out a hand to me. I took it and shook it. He was thanking me profusely. "Thank you bros, thank you bros, thank you bros" taking bows at me as he receded backward from me. Almost embarrassed, I turned and walked on. I was already late for my appointment that Sunday morning.

There are beggars everywhere. You see them everywhere. Maybe you don't see them, but they are there on the streets, in the bus and trains. But you need not look to see them, if you don't want to get smeared with the grime and feral scent. If you look, then you will really have to dig in to see them. You will see them, if and only if, the eyes of your mind are not blinded to plight of suffering children.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Designed by Digilabz and Info-Tech