Hello and good morning y'all.
We are still in the season of love , caring and sharing with others . The true essence of Christmas is not in the gifts but the amount of love we put in the gifts we share with others. No doubt a lot of less-previlegded folks find the Christmas season as the most rewarding period more than anytime of the year. You would also see them with radiant smiles on their faces as a lot of people remember that during this period as people continue to donating gifts, food and money to them . Beggars need love too, but sadly people don't think much about them anymore when christmas is over.
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In my part of the world,Street begging is seen as a means of livelihood by alot of people who are physically challenged since they are unable to work and scrape out a living for themselves. This category of people includes the blind, The crippled, deaf and mute. The aged too unfortunately are not left out.
There are rare cases where some of the people in this category instead of soliciting money from strangers as a means of survival defied all odds by going into the world to fight for their survival just like every other normal person. I have seen a blind professor before, I have come across a deaf tailor and a crippled mechanic. Needless to say that they were all excellent in their respective crafts. This had further shown beyond doubt that there is an "ability in disability". Such optimism and confidence in one's self in the face of a crushing life's misfortune is one of the most admirable quality I have ever seen in any human. Talk about making lemonades out of the lemons life throws at you.
On the flip side, a greater majority of physically challenged folks resign to fate and they acknowledge their disability as a big hindrance to their survival. Therefore, they inadvertently depend on others for contentment.
When I was a kid, there was this old woman that I always see on the roadside begging for alms every morning on my way to school. Mom was always generous to her and she never failed to drop some money in her bowl anytime we crossed her path. She told mum that she never had any children and was all alone in the world and this made mom to develop more empathy to her.
One morning, on our way to school, we couldn't find her at the side of the road where she usually sit. Mom immediately asked around and she was told that old woman had died the previous day. she was hit by a moving vehicle as she was about to cross to the other side.
For a moment, mom was devastated. We were later told that when she was killed, a sum of 70,000 naira was found in her clothes to the amazement of the crowd that gathered round her.At that time, 70,ooo naira was even more than the salary of some bank managers.
It was further revealed that this old woman was not actually a poor person. As a matter of fact , she had four grown up children who are quite successful in their respective careers. It was said that her children had tried several times to take their mother off the street and give her the treatment that every mother deserved from their well-to - do children. But she would always return to the streets as a beggar. The old woman actually saw begging for alms as an occupation and hated the idea f sitting around in a big house doing nothing. Mom was not surprised any more when she heard that old woman had built two houses from her savings by being a beggar for almost thirty years.
Believe me, there are a lot of old folks like this woman in my part of the country, who see alms- begging as a lucrative trade. I know of an old man who use his proceeds from this "trade" to sponsor his grandson's primary education.
Its quite alarming and unfortunate that today,alot of young and able -bodied folks have also taken to grovelling as a means of livelihood. Inder the pretext of being deaf, blind or crippled, some persons are able to sell sympathy to unsuspecting people , thereby extorting money from them.
Some wouldn't even feign any form of disability, they simply devise an interesting story from their imagination, then walk up to you, and start a narration about how they had met with an unfortunate occurrence that made them lost every thing. You would be surprised to see that these so called "beggars" are even well dressed.
Three years ago when I was about travelling to see an aunt, I was already sitted in a bus waiting in a motorpark when a young man about the same age as me came to where I was sitted. He greeted me immediately I turned to look at me and started telling me some sorry tale. According to him, he arrived at the city the previous night for a job opportunity when some hoodlums attacked him and robbed him of all his money and bags. He told me that he was already depressed and just want to return to his hometown but he needed money for his transport fare.
Out of naievity,I felt very sorry. I was about to bring out some money from my bag so I could help him in the little way I can when lthe person besides me warned me not to. I looked up immediately and the man sitting beside me repeated the instruction. He pleaded with me to allow him handle the "beggar"
The young "beggar " was now evidently nervous as he looked at my travel companion with fears written all over his face as if he had been caught red-handed in a mischevious act. I was quite astonished by this sudden change of expression to say the least.
My fellow traveler asked the young man where was his hometown and he reluctantly replied. Coincidentally, we were also heading in thesame direction.
My travel companion then asked the young man to join us in the bus and promised to personally pay his transport fare to the driver since we were heading the same path. As a matter of fact, he would even reach his destination first. I readily agreed to this and returned my money to my bag.
At this moment,there was a brief silence and I was actually anticipating the young man would ascend the vehicle. But the surprise in the young man's face was suddenly replaced by a fiery look . He glared murderously at my travel companion and he began to scream at him that he should have minded his business as he was not the one he asked for money. He accused him of spoiling him game and threatened to kill him. He was already moving away from our vehicle by this time. Then suddenly, he turned around and broke into a furious run. My travel companion and other passengers kept laughing at him. Some of the passengers even disclose their various encounters with such unscrupulous elements disguised as beggars and these encounters were quite mindboggling to me.
I am not advocating against helping beggars or people who appear to be in need. As a matter of fact, i make it a routine every Friday and weekends to give out a few sum of money to any beggar I come across without thinking twice about them. Giving is from the heart and we should do it because we want to. Just like how God grants us our favors and wishes despite our many imperfections and misdeeds!!!
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