Good week everyone. Firstly I want to thank everyone who has visited and read my blog for the patronage. You have made it worth my while. The feedback, the comments have been so heartwarming and the others hilarious. Thank you. And whoever it was that withheld his/her name, please don’t tell my mum I rode on a bike without a helmet! My past week has been uneventful save for an incident at a petrol station that had me confused.
I had gone to a petrol station in the neighbourhood to fill my tank up. I prefer this particular station because the staff is quite friendly and one of them in particular, Tosin, always welcomes me with a winning smile; naturally I gravitate towards her to the exclusion of everyone else. On this particular morning I drove to her petrol pump and as she was attending to a customer before me, I patiently waited. Presently a young lady sidled up to me and asked for alms. I looked at her and was a little surprised.
She was quite young, between the ages of eleven and thirteen … What was unusual was the age and demeanour of this beggar. The ones I’d seen were either younger scruffy children of five to eight or adults who had some form of deformity or the other. This was the first time I saw an adolescent begging. And she looked clean too, scrubbed, like she’d just run away from home. I also make it a rule not to give alms to children as I feel that patronage would further encourage their parents to keep them from school where they are most needed. I would rather give the parents themselves or the handicapped and/or the elderly. I looked at her and told her I had nothing to give and she left me alone. By this time Tosin had finished with the customer before and come forward to attend to me and I made to open my tank for her to commence her fill up. As I did so, another car, a Honda, drove up and parked at the pump beside mine. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the young girl walk up to the car, bend down and begin to speak with the driver. I thought nothing of it and turned back to Tosin, asking her how her weekend was and if the dreaded menace of the fuel shortage was going to rear its head again. I heard a car door slam and turned round. The young girl had entered the car and I stared as it started up and drove off – without getting any fuel!
I desperately hoped he was some relative of hers or even perhaps a neighbour who was taking her back home. Somehow I knew it wasn’t so. Maybe if I’d given her the money she asked for she wouldn’t have been compelled to go with the stranger or perhaps demanded to know what business the driver had with her. I just stood there nonplussed, guilt wracking my insides.
This is an issue I have only questions and no answers for. Why children? What is there about that girl to savour except innocence? Innocence she needs to metamorphosize into a fulfilling adulthood? Aren’t we going to be parents some day if we’re not already ones now? Why? Never mind the children; they are not to blame. Their hearts are the enclave of foolishness anyway, so guidance is the only way to put them on the straight and narrow. Aren’t we guides anymore? I’m at a loss for what to say except to say this: “The child is the father of man.” The children of today are the drivers of tomorrow’s world. Let us never forget that. I still await answers to my question and in whatever torrent they come, I will welcome them. Have a great week everyone.