Despite the Odds
For a very long time, I had been perplexed about the situation of street beggars and who did not seem to have any obvious reason to beg (that is in my opinion). This became more acute when I had to stay in the North central part of Nigeria for about a year.
There were people on the street who consistently resumed by the sides of the roads in the early hours of the mornings and left late at night and all they did was beg. What was more troubling was that they had turned begging into a profession; a number of them owned phones and the most surprising part of the mix was that they were physically okay. It would have been understood if they just did it for a short period to get back up while looking for a job or in the process of creating one. The sad part was that one could sense that they actually enjoyed the ‘profession’. This experience stayed with me and I always wondered if things could ever be better.
Better was experienced about a month ago!
I was going somewhere with someone when we had to make a u-turn and then we saw a disabled man trying to cross the road so we stopped so that he could conveniently cross the road, in that way also stopping other vehicles from running into him. His legs were not functional; he was sitting on something that had rollers and he had a pair of slippers on both hands to help propel him while he rolled to the other side of the road. In the light of what has become the norm in the country, I had concluded that he was only crossing to resume begging on that side of the road. We were so shocked when we saw him lift himself into a three-wheeler vehicle (locally known in Nigeria as ‘Keke’ or ‘Bajaj’) after which he started the engine, calling out to passengers. At that instance, I found myself clapping so loudly in the affirmative and repeating the word ‘Whoa’. We kept talking about the experience all the way to our destination. It was really refreshing to see that someone could defy such odds and work especially as it was not the type of job description one would have expected to find him doing.
Someone once said,
‘You really have to work hard and apply yourself and by applying yourself and working and being diligent, you can achieve success’.
There is really no shortcut to success, we all must apply ourselves to some level of work despite the odds we face daily!