Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plight of a Hungry Man - Part One

There's this man I see every morning not too far from the British Council. He moves from car to car when the traffic light is red and begs for money. The striking thing about this man is unlike most people I see begging on the streets, he is able-bodied and he doesn't appear to be mentally challenged. The very first time this man approached my car, out of fear I rolled up thinking he might have a mental problem but as I watched him every single day, I realised he didn't or if he did, it wasn't so obvious. Then my next instinct was to judge him as a lazy man. My reasoning? "Even some persons with disabilities hawk on the streets and don't even beg how much more this very able-bodied man". My conclusion? "Never give him money, let him find a job to do".
I saw him this morning and it appears just about everyone had come to the same conclusion I had. Come to think of it, I don't believe I have ever seen anyone give him money before. After making his rounds and ending up empty handed, he moved to his position by the traffic light waiting for it to change so the next set of cars could move up and then he could make his rounds again hoping I guess for something better this time. He stood at his position for quite some time and I had the opportunity to look at him closely (actually I was staring) and he looked so so sad. At that instant, my heart went out to him and it got me thinking. What would make someone like him go beg on the streets instead of looking for a job or at least instead of hawking or something. If his level of education isn't high or if he has no education at all he could look for some manual work to do (I see there's some road work going on on the graphic road, he could look into that and there's all this digging going on from Dansoman through Banana Inn to Laterbiokorshie. I believe some cables are being laid and oh, there's the Dansoman high way that's being constructed) or he could get some money, purchase some items and sell in traffic instead of begging. The thing is even with these road works and construction jobs, I believe the workers have some kind of expertise in that field and if he doesn't have this, he probably can't work there besides knowing how things work in Gh it's probably all about who you know even to get a digging job so if he doesn't know people, he's out of luck. About getting money to start something, where's he going to get that from? I doubt if he makes enough to feed himself in a day through the begging he does much more save some up to start a business. Even if by some stroke of good luck he is able to get capital to start hawking, the AMA will probably clamp down on his hawking business and drive him off the street forcing him to look for a stall in a market which mind you, he might not be able to afford.
What's he to do then? I am sure there are others like him. What are they all to do in order to just get food to eat? Despite me going into pensive mode after seeing this man, I still didn't give him money because that I believe is not the solution to his problem. Even if I make it a point to look him up every morning to sort him out (that's if I can afford to) what happens on days I use a different route or on weekends when I don't go anywhere near that area and what about all the others begging on our streets? I can't possibly take care of all of them. 
What can our dear motherland do for people who either through no fault of theirs or even through their own fault find themselves in such a situation? What are other countries doing to ensure their citizenry enjoy a good life?


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