Bangladesh Adventures

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Beggars in Dhaka



I have received some money from a cousin church’s youth to help beggars. We have given tons or at least over 350 packs of high energy or milk biscuits to beggar/street children and older beggars. Our car gets mob on certain nights if we are out because the children know we have biscuits for them. The problem is we don’t usually have our camera with us and when we do the children are not out that night. There is no rhythm or reason for when beggars and street children are on the roads. I have attached two pictures of beggars but they do not capture the many children we see on the streets. They are of a mother with a sick boy and a mentally retarded teenager. I will continue to try to get you the picture of the children.

One of the interesting things we have found out since giving biscuits is that older women and mother that beg prefer biscuits to money. Before we always gave money. I have different theories on beggars:

  • poor people that can not get jobs, usually mother with babies (I feel they are real beggars)
  • very poor sick or scarred people that are syndicated by some thugs to collect money (the beggar gets only a little of the money or none, but most goes to the thugs) This is horrible but happens a lot
  • Street children who do not have parents or who have run away from bad parents.

Anyhow, Nita and I are finding out that (after 20 years here) that many of the poor women who can’t get jobs and beg must have to pay some money to the police or thugs to stand at the corners so they prefer to have biscuits. They can eat the biscuits and destroy all proof that they received anything. We give out many biscuits now. I still give money for some of the beggar women or retarded men I have known for the last four years. Most of the women are from broken marriages from rickshaw whalla’s (pullers). In Muslim society a man can divorce his wife by says, “Divorce, Divorce, Divorce” in front of a witness. You just need to say divorce three times and your divorce. I have seen rickshaw pullers divorce one wife (a beggar) for another wife (beggar) because he thought the other women beggar had more money. These are very poor people. They make less than one dollar a day- that is poor and that is poverty you have not witnessed in USA.

The children are so happy when they receive the biscuits and there is a group of boys we would like to give school bags (backpacks) too but have not done it yet.

Here are two messages from the words of Jesus for your youth at church to discuss: (there is no simple answers)

  • Luke 6:30 “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” Jesus’ commands us to give to everyone who asks you for something, that is his words there is no way to get around it. If a beggar comes up to you and ask for money, Jesus tells us we should give to that person. He doesn’t say what to give but to give.
  • Mathew 26:10 & 11, Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.

I hope this helps a little.

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