Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Beggar's Plea

I have been in Ibadan,again,for the past two days. 

These were not very pleasant days I must confess.

The lowest point of my trip,was not any of the other difficulties I encountered, these were things that were always within my control.

It was at Iwo /Ife road roundabout, it was something I had no control over. And it was frustrating.

I was sad. 

I saw a little girl,she could not have been more than four years old;and then again,she could have been older,but be suffering from stunted growth a la malnutrition.

She was a beggar. 

Or a beggar's assistant,or child. One could see that she was in the grip of begging. 

Her head was in the laps of another,older,beggar. 

And a third woman, was braiding her hair.

I do not know why I saw her,but I must confess, I should not deceive myself, or you:I have a four year old daughter, and she is my only child; she is one of the two lights my life revolves around, this side of heaven.

In the midst of the hurly-burly,tumultuous-cacophony that Iwo/Ife road roundabout is,a little innocent girl,was trying to live a normal life.

But her surroundings, screamed against normality.

She was a beggar.

The honking cars, the acrid exhaust fumes, the open gutters with screaming garbage, and the human casualties of of our society;the other beggars, they all screamed back


As I drove away from that spot, I retained a snapshot of her in my heart,because that is where she touched. I just could not make her go away. She was like a debt that was overdue, with no hope of payment in sight.

The last thing I did before going to bed,was to write a memo on my phone to write this piece.

Who was this little girl?

Did she have any parents? 

Did she have any dreams?

Did she have any future?

She was a beggar.

After all.

Did she eat well? 

Did she sleep well?

Did anyone even care for her?

If I had ever wished I were very rich,rich, as in own an island, have mansions on seven continents,and be on first name basis with Bill, and Warren,or even Aliko, it was then.

I would have just stopped my car, and put the girl and her minder in my car.

I would have adopted her. 

It still breaks my heart.

She was a beggar.

And I could not do anything!

What society,allows the weak,vulnerable, and innocent,to suffer like that?

Are we serious about our future,if our children who are our future, are already disadvantaged as children?

If we think the world is complicated now, we should imagine what it would be like in fifteen years time for this girl.

She would be a stranger in,and to,her own world.

She would be locked out of the stream,and flow,of life as it would be then. She would be unprepared, because when she was young,

She was a beggar!

But her future could be so different,if we could only work to the potential we already  have as a nation, and utilize the resources we currently are profligate with, in reprobate,and abominable, expenditure.

When Obasanjo was president,he accused some governors then,of being "Owambe"  (Outlandish,wild party animals) governors; Nigeria is throwing the ultimate Owambe party in October, we are spending billions of naira on a party,I wonder what Obasanjo has to say now?

But this little girl,whose life could be transformed,if this money were properly used, would probably grow up, a statistic, a statistic of the failed leadership we must all work to change.

Let us unite to work for Nigeria's unity,

She is worth saving,

This little girl is begging us to,
After all,

She is a beggar.


No comments:

Post a Comment