> My access to pics is limited while we are visiting family (only have what was loaded on son’s sd card) but these boys are just a few the beautiful faces you see on the street. Also, having a really hard time formatting with blogger lately, the spaces and such just aren’t coming through, so if it looks bunchy and such, bear with me.
Another guest post from Doc. (this first bit is me, you’ll be able to tell the diff, although doc talks/types almost as much as I do! It’s one reason we get along so well!)
This time, this post, on how do you handle the people who approach you in the city, when your car is stopped at a light, as you walk through the sights….what do you do for the begging?
In America, it is a different problem in many ways and we are trained to do different things. But what about in Addis? The guidebooks say, “do not give money or food to the beggars, it only exacerbates the problem. If you must, give scrip for a free meal that you can buy at XX shelter.”
Well, yes, hmmm, we understand that concept. Sounds good. But frankly, we didn’t find XX shelter (it’s a very large city) and really….well, when true poverty holds out it’s hand, the poorest of the poor – the crippled, lame, children, moms, blind – how can your hearts be of stone and not hurt for them? And how can you not want to do something, anything, to help, even if only for a moment? And if you do feel that ache, then what, exactly do you do??
We cannot fix the overwhelming problems of the poverty in Ethiopia, it’s huge. We certainly don’t want to add to it, and hope and pray that we did not. But when it’s one on one, or three at a window, how can you not do something, however small?
So, we did. It was our choice, and this is not a travel tip. This is opinion and our response to an overwhelming issue, a complicated and difficult one. So take it for what it is, I’m sure others will have other and better ways and ideas and responses and I’m sure others will have conflicting opinions. That’s ok, go see what they say too. But this is ours, courtesy of my strongly opinionated husband: Here goes:
Give to everyone who asks of you…
It’s a bit of a long quotation, but worth it:
“Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit (is) that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Lk 6:30-38)
A traveller to Addis can encounter the impoverished people there in one of several ways: Some people will consciously or unconsciously try to ignore it and go all the way there without anything to give.
Some will find themselves embarrassed, shunning or distancing themselves or ignoring those who beg from them.
Some will find themselves wanting to give to those in need but will not be prepared with anything to offer.
Not one person who asked us for something was one thousandth as well off as we are or had eaten as much in the previous week as we had in the previous day or two.
The best way treat beggars is to be ready with an abundance to give them, even to those who may not appear as if they really need it, (if you hadn’t eaten in two days would you look a lot different than you do now?) especially to those who don’t ask but clearly need it.
This is what we did: we brought cases of those peanut butter crackers and cheese crackers. Those peanut butter crackers are high in protein, taste good and were less than 10 cents each by the case. We carried on more than enough and when we ran out we bought bananas and oranges for less than the cost of one of our restaurant meals at the local stand to give away. Everyone was grateful and we almost always had something to give to someone who asked, mostly children — two or three for those who clearly needed it.
Our Father is much more generous to us. We can only show God our love of Him by showering that love upon His children, whom He loves and sent you to love.
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ “