December 9, 2010

My Journey into Africa: To Never Have Enough

My Journey into Africa: To Never Have Enough: "I crawled into the bus and picked a window seat. While I was waiting for it to fill, a poorly-dressed man carrying a cane came to the window..."

STOP! Read the link before continuing

A Cop arresting a beggar near the University of Djibouti. I found this on Google Images.

This was written by another American living here in Djibouti. I've experienced all these things myself and have been pondering many of these ideas since I arrived.

I read a blog called Good Intentions Are Not Enough and she has written about this kind of stuff extensively. I emailed her to ask whether I should give money to beggars? She said no, give money to organizations that are working in your country. NGO's, the church, etc. I don't know if thats the answer but its a start. I still give money to beggars sometimes but I do have some guidelines.

If i have water I offer, most people have turned me down. I NEVER give money to people who pester mem walk by me, tug on me, harass me in any way. Giving them something only reinforces their behavior and I refuse to be a part of that. The ones I give money to are the quiet ones who are sitting on the sidewalk, usually mothers with toddlers or infants, or to old people. There are routes that I frequent and I see the same people there and some of them I give to semi-regularly. Outside one of the grocery stores there is a young girl who always talks to me, sometimes I give her food but if I don't give her anything she doesn't get mad at me like many of the children do.

What do you think?


  1. Thats interesting that the girl outside the grocery store does not get mad like the others. Do you think most of the child beggers are working for pimps or for their family? Are only orphans working for pimps?

  2. Interesting dilemma, and I think your approach is probably the best way to go. Responding to what you think are legitimate needs, and rejecting manipulation is a good system. It can be very hard to reject anyone, but realizing you can't help everyone is a good first step.

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