Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bible studies

One inescapable element of life in Pemba is that, as a white person, I am asked for money pretty much every day. Some of the petitioners are obvious beggars, most of whom I know, others apparently perfectly well-off random strangers. Many are the sob-stories they have poured in my ear, most of which I ignore, but the funniest approach so far was the man who acosted me the other day and asked for 10 mts (20p). When I turned him down, he replied (this is a loose translation) "Jesus said, those who feel shame will go hungry." Now I may not be fully up to speed on all of Jesus' pronouncements, but I'm prettty sure that that is a pretty unorthodox interpretation of his dictums. I blame the American missionaries.

PS: just in case I come across as a totally insensitive tight-fisted hag in this story, I would like to mention, for the record, that I do regularly dispense small amounts of cash to the beggars I know and who are genuinely needy. And just in case I come across as totally naive, I am aware that many of them spend it all on hard liquor, but probably so would I if my life was anything like theirs.



At 1:25 am, Blogger MoziEsm√© said...

Love that dilemma - who to give to?! I understand where you're coming from. If we have change on us, we generally give, just because we don't know which sob stories are true . . . Never had anyone try to shame us into it before!

At 9:23 am, Blogger Rebecca said...

Hope you didn't take offence at the 'American missionaries' line: it was meant to be light-hearted! But what is true is that since Arco Iris set up their missionary school in Pemba, people on the street are using Jesus' name as a way to try to get more money, which - despite the fact that I am not a Christian - I don't like. In this case it was funny though! As for the dilemma, I prefer to give to those I can see are genuinely in need (disabled, old, etc.) and not to young able-bodied people. It helps to have some kind of criteria!


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