"Give me dollars, give me dollars, give me, please, I pray
Give me dollars, give me dollars ..." I hear this ev’ry day
Little children on the roadway, dodging twixt the cars
Knocking at the drivers' windows, begging, "Please" for alms
Lurking yonder, 'tween the houses, see the gang boss wait
Taking all those hard-begged dollars, hiding by the gate
Money goes into their pockets, nothing for the kids
"Give me dollars, please, I beg you ..." (for the boss, who's hid)
Children taken from their mothers, often far away
Begging, begging for their masters ev’ry single day.
Such young children, five, six, seven, forced to work like this
Speaking pidgin languages, without a mother’s kiss.
You’ll find them on the streets of London, Paris and Beirut
Pulling at the good folks’ heartstrings, (masters count the loot)
Kind folk know the kids get beaten if they don’t prevail
So, their begging gets them dollars, helps them not to fail.
In the doss-house, at the day’s end, kids sleep on the floor
Huddled, hungry, dirty, lonely … missing Mother, sore …
‘Aunty’ counts money with ‘Uncle’, drinks her bottle dry,
Goes and slaps a weeping girl-child “I’ll teach you not to cry!”
Every single morning, I pass by those little kids on my way from home to work. I took those pictures not letting them notice me, as I didn't want to frighten them. When my children complain about not having all the things they wish for in life, I can't help comparing them to those little angels abandoned on the streets in the cold winter or under a burning sun.
Do they eat enough? Do they ever go to see a doctor when feeling sick? do they have the necessary vaccination done? Does anyone teach them to read? do they ever laugh? Are they beaten, abused or raped? Do they know who their parents are? Are they loved? Are they HAPPY?
Are they happy? I think that is the hardest question. My first reaction would be to answer: "of course, they're not!!! How can they be happy living under these conditions?" That was my answer, and that was what I first wrote.
My day started really bad yesterday, and ended even worse. It was Mother's day and my children were upset that I didn't stay with them so that they could wish me a happy mother's day. I had decided not to avoid them this year, but I couldn't. I have failed in that. Not only did I avoid them, but I totally ignored them, and their loving wishes. I read a lot of disappointment and sadness in their eyes this morning, and I am blaming myself and hate what I have done. My mind was elsewhere. I was facing troubles at work, I was facing my own emotions. I was facing the abuse my son and I had to endure that morning from their father. I was also facing my guilt feeling, my eternal companion that keeps reminding me how useless I am in all my different roles, how dependent I can be on others love, how fear of abandonment can still sometimes take control of my life.
Are my own children happy? How could I allow myself to compare them with others? Happiness is relative. There are no specific life conditions to define happiness or create it. Those abandoned children might be much happier than others if they accept their life, if they know nothing else to compare with. Do they really know at their age how important it is to go to school if their parents never had education anyway? Are they upset for not having the most recent video game if they never watched TV anyway? Do they feel the need to buy a chocolate if they never tasted it? I'm not sure.
While starting this post now, I was angry against those kids mothers, but now..... I just don't know.......
Thank you Pat for the beautiful/sad poem you wrote specially for this post. I love it <3