Tag Archives: beggars

Two People You’ll Probably Never Meet

When Florentina was born, she was a strong and healthy baby, a perfect little girl. But her mother’s only income came from begging, and she needed money. She took steel wires and tied her daughter’s fingers tight so they would not grow, crippling her in order to make her a better beggar. But after years of heroin addiction, abuse, rape, and life on the streets, she found a second chance at life when Victory Outreach opened its doors to her and her newborn son. Two years into living free and clean, and she fell back into drugs. Now, she’s back on the streets, addicted to heroin and haunted by her past, with little hope for the future. When I met her, all she wanted was to show us the people who had helped her and introduce us to her little boy. Despite her sad state, she is still a proud mama.

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You Will Always Have the Poor

The other day, we were taking soup to the homeless when a man approached us.  He told us, “Come with me.  There is a family that is very poor.  Many people visit them and give them clothes.  You can even take pictures of them.”  That really bothered me.  Take pictures of them… like they’re monkeys in a zoo and not people, like all I cared to do was get my “feed the homeless” badge and then be on my way, like their value was about as much as the time it would take for a  couple photos…

When we arrived, we found a house in shambles but all the kids decently-dressed and looking mostly well-fed.  They gladly received hot soup and prayer, but the whole time I felt like they saw me as nothing more than a visitor taking pictures at the zoo.  (We didn’t take any photos, just so you know.  None of us remembered our cameras.)

Before moving to Bucharest, I lived in Spring Green, a fairly well-off small town and tourist location in south-west Wisconsin.  Sure, the median income is lower here than in a big city, but so are the expenses.  A few people had difficulty paying bills each month, and some families were ruined by alcohol, but most people had a place to live and a car even if they didn’t have a job.  And there’s the town food pantry that helps out once every month for anyone in the area or outlying towns that might need it.  (Of course, more than a few times I remember seeing a young, healthy family drive up in their recently-washed sports car to come get some “assistance.”)

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