Saturday, February 3

See-through people

A small piece of cardboard paper with a few coins, another piece of cardboard to sit on, in a busy spot where many people pass by.
Some of them are regulars, others come occasionally. Beggars, asking for small change.
Some are quite obviously ill. Frail people. See-through people.
We pass by, careful not to step on the cardboard, careful not to meet their eyes.
Only a few stop and put a coin on the cardboard. There are more of beggars this year than last year, so it seems to me. People who have given up, (perhaps) were forced into giving up.
Very rarely someone "regular" talks, says something to them. Their voice is the empty cardboard. The sad eyes, the mumbled "thank you" when given some small change.
Once they must have been smalll children, running home from school or play, they had names, were certain the world was OK, trusting. then something went wrong. Sometimes, i guess, things went well for a long time, unttil something broke. And there was no one to pick up the pieces, to mend what needs care. To mind, to be there.
We have so few answers for the neediest people, in fact not only for the needy, for all of us.

It's Tu B'Shvat today, the New Year of the Trees. A time to plant and to enjoy new life. The almond trees are blossoming. Yet outside it is cold, raining, strong winds. I wonder where the beggars are.


3 comments:

samra said...

our problem that we are all in our way to be beggar..but we all bileave that we never arrive to this way but..we are in the right way

yaeli said...

I moved house a couple of months ago, from a pretty horrible place just off Abulafia street in South TA. We had lots of junk in the apartment that we didn't want to take with us. We made some trips to put it outside near the garbage cans at the end of our alley. Every trip we made, the junk from the previous trip was gone. Then, we saw an old man, looking at a broken toaster oven that we were throwing away. He asked us if it worked. He needed the money to feed himself, and he was going through the bins to find anything he could. I gave him some nearly new but (for me) ill-fitting running shoes. How many others were in that dark street, hunting through the trash?

yudit said...

Yaeli, i'm not surprised at all. there is true and deep poverty in this country. Poverty where there isn't always food on the table, of any kind.
Poverty where people are made homeless, or where their social security payments are taken frmo them on the whim of a secretary, forget about due process.
Poverty where working poor are paid way belwo the minimum wage and when they try top do something about it, they are sacked. As their employers never paid social secuirty nor gave them legal salary slips, they are left without a penny. Often their last wage wasn't paid.
The elderly are often so poor they have to choose between food and medicine, often live under unimaginable conditions.
Our politicians tell us all is getting better.
i haven't seen that yet.