James Mansaray: Freetown, Sierra Leone
Friday 18, September 2009
It is always said “seeing is believing ...”so I guess this outdoor display of beggars will convince all of you deniers on the fact that thousands still can’t make a day’s meal here in Mama Salone. This time round, it was right at the heart of the Capital, down town Wilberforce Street, adjacent the famous Central Mosque where hundreds of beggars await the final whistle of the 2:00 PM prayers.
For them, it’s payday time as Friday’s are the legal begging days here especially around Mosques where our Muslim brothers and sisters are seen giving out their last pennies to those desperately in need and with the month of Ramadan closing in, the crowd of beggars increases making it very difficult for those who want to give out a little help.
Mama Vicki and I had faced such tension and fight when we stop there to buy few religious items and to give help to some of the poor beggars who are always there. The fact is, being hungry and desperate has become part and parcel of these people so do not be surprise to see them fighting over a bowl of rice or even a piece of bread. I called it ‘Survival of the strong’ meaning if you are not strong enough,you get nothing at the end.
My pity goes for the aged, the limbless, more especially those in wheel chairs and to crown it all the blind to name but a few who can’t meet what it takes to fight hard for a piece of this lion’s share.
I was shocked to witness such a scene and i just can’t afford to keep it to myself but to share it with you in words and in pictures. Seeing old mammies being knock off on the other side by the fortunate young ones sent me on tears, their bowls still empty waiting for a helping hand.
Those in wheel chairs wait and see what their kids will get from this turbulent share of just a 50kg bag of rice which is actually meant for a single family now for a whole crowd. At the end most of them goes home empty handed and sleeping hungry.
This older lady goes home with empty bowl but maintaining
her dignity and smile on her face.
The scene of empty bowls and tired stretching hands explains it all and these poor people need our attention, your attention. How long will this last for them? We have been doing our best from time to time dropping several bags of rice to a whole lot of people and seeing this makes me want to do more and there are a whole lot out there unnoticed suffering the same fate or even worse...................
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