Sunday, December 13, 2009


Walking on street pavements around Nairobi and seeing the different array of beggars from the disabled to the sick and to the physically normal people over the years, made me develop an attitude of contempt towards them, chiefly because I felt they had many more options aside from seeking handouts from other human beings who are just like them. I felt like they could do better to fend for themselves, at some point I even blamed them for whatever plight they undergo. I asked myself, why are other people poor while others are not? I thought maybe if anyone understood this one thing then perhaps they’d be better placed, including me, to truly help the poor.

But this was just a notion I had in my head, just a political thought. The poor I had in mind were not the ones sitting on the roadsides with placards beside them with a long medical history written on them, hoping to get money off the public. The poor to me were not beggars, those are just lazy people looking for an excuse to not have to work. The poor is that mother of a two year old child from the slum trekking to Nairobi’s CBD every day to sell sweets and cigarettes only for city council officers to topple her carton-made stand, and scatter all her stuff on the road. The poor is that family of orphans who have to work odd jobs to support each other.. those are the poor! I have always had the heart to give but I either thought of it as something to be done in future (when I’ll have something significant to give) or, whenever confronted with an opportunity, thought that the person(s) in question did not deserve it.

I walked by a blind beggar not so long ago, stretching out his hand, holding a tin, singing a gospel song, praising God. I remember thinking ‘if you truly believe in your God then why are you begging amongst men, beg your God and He’ll provide.’ I never gave a single cent to a beggar because I never believed in handouts- free things. When approached by those ‘dirty folks’ beggars I’d mean mug them like they were just about to take what’s mine and say words to shoo them away. I really did give them a bad look and when that made them back off it made me feel like I knew the street. I felt so because one of them had tried to extort me back in the day, he showed me a packet of ‘human wastes’ and a few sharp tools he had in possession inside his coat and threatened to use them if I did not pay up.

Then God spoke to me. Yes, God. He spoke to me. He said ‘Wyndago, ye my child thou need to learneth something’. Alright I did not exactly hear a voice speak but look, I had a sudden change of heart and a new attitude towards beggars was implanted in me in a split second (snap!). I strongly perceive it to be God speaking to me. It happened recently when I had just said another ‘no’ to a beggar. I felt compassion and all the times I turned my back on a beggar flashed before my eyes… and I was sorry. Then I felt the need to give. I woke up one morning and decided to pursue any beggar to not only give him/her money but to buy them food, and shake his hand, and wish him a good day. I had only fifty shillings with me so I was planning for just one beggar. I did not find any beggar around my neighborhood that day.

Yesterday, a friend of mine and I were approached by a street child, she carried a baby on her back and she asked us for money. I had no cash but my friend without hesitation stopped to look for loose change in her purse, I felt so ashamed that my friend wouldn’t even hesitate when I can’t remember the last time I gave to a beggar probably because I had never. Meanwhile I engaged the street girl in a friendly small talk. Asking her if she took anything for breakfast, she stopped to think but eventually said “tulikula mandazi”. I was impressed that she told the truth! She had paused to think whether or not to lie, it was about noon and she must have been tempted to lie to make us sympathize with her to lead us (my friend) to give her more money. Then she gave me a look mixed with both surprise and appreciation. I did not give the kid money, but I gave her something.

It feels good to care about people who other people care less about. There is so much joy in giving to the needy! Moral of the story; when you give, give with your whole heart and not just to get rid of loose change that make noise in your pocket. Give with compassion. Do it for the joy of it, it doesn’t matter whether or not they deserve it, appreciate it or pretend to be needy. Just do your part and always give! give! give! Even when you don’t have money, stop and show them that you care. That is our duty as God’s people, not something we do when we please.

Merry Christmas.

7 Educated Opinions Yet:

lulu said...

very humane, you have made me feel guilty, for real coz i thought like you much. and been guilty when the person i was with handed out money to a beggar, apart from that merry xmas and i loooooved nairobi , time i was there

Wyndago said...

Well, since you have been where i am. Tell me where i'll be by telling me where you are. Do you give to beggars nowadays?

rockhead said...

Thanks for this post, I can totally relate. I never used to give to beggars and used to feel nothing but nowadays i feel bad...yet I still dont give. I just dont see like those few coins will help them. If I could buy food I would but those street kids usually come to me sniffing glue and I think "if I give him these 10 shillings he'll just buy more"
So I'm looking to do other charities, like empower women and children thru some initiative, rather than give handouts.

Wyndago said...

Rockhead i know what you mean, handouts don't seem to go a long way but i wouldn't dismiss it completely. I want to give out of love and leave the rest to play out by itself.
But i like your empowerment idea, go ahead! If you ever need volunteers i'll be more than willing to take part.

savvy said...

I totally relate too..but I Have given once in a while. I feel bad, give but then tomorrow again, they are there.

marry said...

oho good dear !!!! very interesting blog and a good posting !!! you must maintain your blog, its interesting !!! Nice Buddy

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Wyndago said...

@Savvy yeah i know, apparently we can't change the world as a whole but we can make a difference

@Marry thanks alot! ..and welcome to The Sanctum.

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