Travel musings: Encounter with a beautiful beggar

It was on a cold Sunday morning, everywhere looked busy, everyone rushing to their place of worship. I was rushing to the park. My school had just called off its three months old strike and I was eager to get to the park to catch the first bus.

I got to the park just to meet the first bus leaving, I was so disappointed, I sat in the bus as I got ready to wait for the next two hours for the bus to get filled.

For the next 20 mins I kept mumbling and complaining to myself, unhappy that I had wasted such time. I raised my head as I heard a very soft voice shout angrily. I looked to my left,it was then I saw her.

She looked so fragile and young, her skin very fair and her hair very long and silky. She was barefoot and carrying a small child by her waist,the veins on her neck bulging as she screamed at a child standing by her and looking very rebellious. I could not understand the language, I could not understand her frustrations but my heart went out to her. A very beautiful beggar. 

She kept muttering to herself as she went from one window to another of the bus putting her hand to her mouth in a gesture showing that she had not eaten and stretching her arms at intervals to beg from every and anyone passing. 

It was from the conversation of the bus conductors I was able to deduce that she was a young mother of three beggars, including the small child she carried around. Her wrapper was dirty and the children all experts in begging with all the pitiable expressions were equally untidy.

I couldn’t stop staring at her, she looked frustrated, tired and hungry. I have always believed able bodied people should work and not beg but at that point all logic failed me, I just felt absolute sympathy. I imagined the kind of life she lived, how she got there, the father or fathers of her children.

Having moved around for a while, she sat down by the side of the bus, eating a piece of dried fish and totally ignoring her child, just slowly eating, enjoying the meal.

The poor fair child just kept playing with sand and looking hungry and unhappy. I could take it no more, I signaled to a vendor to sell sausage to them. I watched the young woman carefully, she gave it to her small child whom she knew would not be able to really eat it as he had little or no teeth. After a while she collected it and devoured it without mercy but her facial expression remained the same. Frustrated, hungry and miserable. There was no joy at the food, it was just how she lived. If she sees food, fine, if not, fine too.

I felt so heartbroken. The bus eventually got filled and started moving but I couldn’t stop looking at her, even after we had long left the  park, the image of that young beautiful beggar plagued me. She seems to be crying in my dreams for help.

Even with the tears are expression never changed; frustrated, hungry and miserable.

Young beautiful beggar.


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