Yesterday evening while taking a stroll around the Jinja road traffic lights, I observed one of those street kids that clean windscreens and side mirrors in the hope for some coins go about their hustle. The vehicle they were working on was a Canter truck and the kid didn’t seem very enthusiastic about the task.
Most vehicle occupants (taxi passengers included. This is an inclusive post and, heck, I’m usually part of this category) subscribe to the school of thought that it’s pointless giving these kids money because there is usually some pimp kinda adult that collects the dues so no to enabling a crooked system.
Still, I couldn’t help trying to transmit work ethic thoughts to the kid about how you gotta turn up and show enthusiasm for the job to increase your chances of getting that pity paper. I mean, you’ve already taken the forward-thinking step of working for that money instead of just begging so put your back into it, will ya…
Anyway, the kid didn’t get my mind-to-mind transmission and after their lackluster performance, they went to the passenger side to tap for appreciation coins. I gotta give them points for strategy here though coz the passenger side had a woman.
Some equality of the sexes advocates might say this is sexist but I honestly believe women’s motherly instinct makes their chances of giving these children money higher than those of men. If anyone has evidence that this is not necessarily true, I’m willing to swallow humble pie and absorb this new knowledge.
Back to the kid, they put their arms out and were instantly rewarded with some hard currency, the amount of which I couldn’t verify because my eyesight is still normal and I can’t see as if binoculars. They didn’t have to continue asking and contorting their face into extreme misery while doing the outstretched begging arms shake repeatedly. I can’t even say for sure if it’s an act because I have no doubt their lives are miserable enough. Bless that ladies soul for saving the child that extra humiliation.
What happened next is what really warmed my heart. The kid slowly retracted their outstretched arms while looking at the money in utter disbelief. They then proceeded to walk along the side of the car towards the back while still looking at the money. And then a smile slowly started forming on their face and grew till it was a huge one of sheer unbridled joy. They reached the back of the Canter and paused there to examine the money some more as if, is this for rio rio? At this point, I wouldn’t have been shocked if they’d fist pumped the air but they settled for a closing oh-happy-day smile before storing the currency somewhere in their tattered clothing.
I’ve occasionally given street kids coins in the past, especially when they are very persistent and I start feeling like an asshole for mizing (is this a real word BTW? If yes, what’s the correct spelling coz I’ve failed to find it) loose coins, but I don’t remember ever seeing a reaction so pure before. That was a win for humanity right there. I don’t care if some shady adult is going to take away that money or if it’ll be used to buy fuel for sniffing to forget the direness of their existence but that genuinely happy reaction was worth it.
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