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by - February 03, 2019

African beggar

A few weeks ago, I saw a video on LADBIBILE, about a man called Ronald Davis, you can check LADBIBLE's twitter page for it.  Watching the video inspired me to create this post, because as of now, Homelessness is one of the least discussed issues in Nigeria.

My first thought while seeing the video, was that it reminded me of my favorite poem by Sola Owonibi, titled Homeless not Hopeless.   For as long as I can remember, the poem meant beggars being hopeful, and people going through tough times being hopeful, but on this day recollecting the words of the poem and tying it to the video I saw, gave a whole new interpretation to it.

I’ll drop a few paragraphs here, and you can look up the rest in your spare time;

Homeless, Not Hopeless

We are the native of the street
Holed-up under bridges
We are necessary
We are part of your existence
Major fragment of the globe
As the day chameleon to night
You slump in the warmth of your beds
And the heat of loved ones
We also embrace the cozy
Cardboards laid on stinks
As the night inject us with cold breeze
And endurance
We sleep and dream
And have conferences with
The indigenes of the world 

For the first time ever, I got the writer adressing the people of the night's need to be seen more than their current situation. 
There's a line further into the poem that reads;

"We are the lack
That takes your lack
We are homeless, not hopeless"

As human beings, most of us are guilty of branding homeless people and people in way lesser socio-economic classes as us. In these situations, words like Bum, Tout, thug and Agbero often suffice.
In Roland’s case he was called a bum, and for most in these parts, we call them Abgeros. 

Years ago, even before seeing Ronald's video, I promised the universe to make a conscious effort not to make people, who like Roland said; are down on their luck, feel any less.  

It's safe to say I haven't been so true to my words.
Last week, on my way home from work, I rushed into a cab heading my way, and a man who must've been working on a constructions site (his face was covered in cement) sat next to me.  Halfway through our ride I found myself adjusting every minute, until he let out a not-so-subtle sigh, and moved away from me. 

At that moment, even without words, I had asserted some kind of superiority that made him so uncomfortable that he sat out so our bodies didn't meet.
Noticing this, I apologized and asked if he wanted to sit back instead, he nodded and sank into the car seat.

Thinking more about my exchange with the construction worker, also brought me to consider how in most cases, our society makes it hard for people to pump adequate amounts of positivity into the world.

Growing up, I had read of countless cases of men and women renting children for begging businesses, *( once, I witnessed at the overhead bridge by the train tracks in Oshodi, rented children being snatched away from beggars), people being robbed in public transport, and cases of good samaritans being used for fetish rituals.
The question now is, should that stop us?

While we still try to figure that out, I think simple Hellos with a smile on our face, and also getting in touch with notable charities in your area would go a long way.

side note: If you would like to support the FEED MAKOKO cause by Say-say's initiative, you can send me an mail for details.

Don't forget to like and share this post, and if you have a solid answer to my question, please drop it in the comments section.

Have an awesome week. 

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