The week was an interesting one. I had an intriguing encounter with a young boy of about nine years old on my way home from the registered voting venue. I was walking to the bus stop, minding my business, when I heard a voice from behind me say “Good morning ma.” I turned towards the direction of the voice and my eyes met a young neatly dressed boy, along with a much younger boy of about six years old. His younger brother, I supposed.
I responded to the elder boy’s greeting and asked how he was. He said “fine.” I was mildly surprised that he could greet a total stranger with such respect; guess there is still hope for this generation. A few moments later, he asked that I give him some money. I looked at him (at this point, we were walking side by side, while the younger boy walked behind us), and asked why.
He indicated that he was hungry and needed money to buy something to eat. I inquired as to whether he ate at home and he responded that he did not. When I asked why he did not eat at home, his response was that his mum said they would eat after church. In the end, I was able to get out of him that his mother was home but they had not eaten yet.
Then I asked if his mum would be happy that he is asking a stranger for money. He didn’t respond. Rather, he repeated, “I am really hungry.” The younger boy kept mute throughout the conversation and I could not read his expression, although I could tell he wanted something too. At this point, I lectured the boy quickly. I told him that it’s not good to ask strangers for money because you don’t know who is bad and could harm you. He nodded in understanding.
Then, I asked him what he wanted and he said anything. We got to a bend, and went to a Mallam’s kiosk who sells petty stuff. I asked if he had gala (beef sausage) and he responded in the affirmative; I asked for two, paid the Mallam and gave the gala to them.
Sis, you needed to see how both of their eyes lit up. My heart melted. I admonished them not to do so again and to always ask their mum for whatever they needed. I also told the older boy to take care of his brother. They said thanks and left me in excitement.
This encounter got me thinking about so many reasons why he asked me for money. I thought of the kind of family they are born into and what manner of parents guide them. I’m pretty sure I never asked a stranger for money to buy something (oh boy! the fear of mum as a kid was the beginning of sense), but in my teens, I’ve asked strangers a couple of times to help pay transportation fare home from school.
Anyway, that was my week. The experience was somber but very humbling. I hope your week was as poignant as this encounter was for me.
I totally understand how such an encounter can be humbling. I remember we did not have much growing up but I honestly cannot say I have ever had to ask anyone for money for food. I do remember having to eat less food or less glamorous meals, but I don’t remember being hungry and not having anything to eat at all. We can certainly thank our parents for ensuring that was the case.
Unfortunately, I must confess that my week was not as awe-inspiring as yours. As usual, I was engulfed with work and of course, some play.
But this week is already shaping up to be better and it’s only Monday!! So, you can imagine my excitement at all the possibilities of what could be. It all started when our brother sent me a manifesto that I can swear was taken directly out of my own personal diary.
I was so inspired by the manifesto that I shared it with my closest circle of girlfriends. I had to share it because in all honesty, it is exactly the woman I aspire to become. The woman that lives in her complete truth and is unapologetically magnificent, sexy, driven, educated, opinionated, ambitious and beautifully flawed. I hope that others, men and women, can ready these words and feel as empowered as I felt and still feel after reading it.
. . . . Cast your eyes on this knowledge . . . And dare to be inspired.