The morning, cool and convenient enough for a park. Buses parked in order of arrangement as passengers grooved in. There I was, patiently sitting in an opened bus void of passengers. Straight towards me came a young girl, couldn’t be more than ten years. Saliva dripping from her mouth, wet hands bagged a polythene bag as she begged. Her voice, faintly blocked and salient and her hands stretched horizontally.
Perhaps,a sort of childhood illness or an accident or maybe a birth abnormality could be the reason for the saliva dripping mouth and voice quality loss.
Away from me she went, towards the market lined up with shops. With same pose and similar gestures, she begged as she strolled down hawkers, buyers and passers by. Quite noticeable were her feet. One of it, swollen and partially bent towards the east. Lifting both legs was an obvious difficulty for her. I hoped silently, maybe, just maybe, she would find succour.
Even closed eyes see the needs and struggles of these not so fortunate children, but attitudes towards them becomes a choice we make.
Every child deserves more than just existing or surviving, but really living. Sadly, comfortable living is unheard of for such kids. A beautiful future is only actualized in their day dreams. Their reality and major concern is a means of surviving daily, securing head spaces at night and food eaten enough to hawk the next day.
You can lend that hand of love. Hospitable hands of faith for their survival. A heart so big to accommodate hawking children and young adults. A heart that sacrifices for the needs of a child who daily dreams of the classroom, but finds himself hawking from sunrise to sunset each day in sweaty rags. Tomatoes and pepper sold in the morning, vegetables and fresh fish takes it’s turn in the afternoon, while banana and groundnut rounds up major sales in the evening.
Let your heart see the tears and unspoken dreams of these young ones. And may your heart stretch your hand to meet their needs.
- Michelle Okonicha