THE EXPERIENCE OF A BEGGAR: A SALESIAN CHALLENGE

THE EXPERIENCE OF A BEGGAR: A SALESIAN CHALLENGE

We all know the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 :25-37. Between the three protagonists, the levite, the priest and the Samaritan man, who is the neighbour of the man beaten up and left half dead ? The Samaritan, of course
If I am to ask, “Have you ever met a beggar on the street? In your working place? In your premises or elsewhere? I expect the response to be yes Allow me to narrate my encounter with a beggar.
One hot-day sitting in a resting place, in front of me appears a mother, tired and hungry; she asked me if she could sit at the same table with me? I replied yes. She tells me that it was the second day that she and her child had not eaten and they always slept on the street. She begged for something small for her and her child.
On hearing her story, my existential temperature rose probably more than the cosmological one I was experiencing before, why ? because I had only 2,500 shillings. What I did was : I gave her 2000 shillings and remained with 500 for my taxi transport to take me back to where I had come from. As I gave her the money, she went straight into the restaurant to buy something for the child because the child was no longer talking because of hunger and later she bought something for herself to eat too.
Being Salesians, can we attempt to make a claim that we can solve all problems of the beggars around us? I think the answer is “no” Why ? because we are beggars too; the difference is that we beg in order to help the beggars and support our mission. The experience of begging is not a good and easy one, everyone has his own story to tell for those who have done so. Some are insulted, some are given horrible conditions among others.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we lost so many financial benefactors, we need now go back to the drawing board to see how we can go about financing the mission. I think in an ordinary day to day living, if one wants to beg, one first starts by checking on his/ her phone book to find out how many people one knows and if they are likely to help ? After that, one calls them and explains how they can come to our rescue.
As Salesians, we meet so many people, some of whom come to our houses and we do believe that anyone who comes to our houses is sent by our Blessed Mother Mary. We have had huge numbers of them; some remain for good, others go away, for example, volunteers, salesian cooperators, past pupils; also Salesian confreres who join but for one reason or the other go away, by themselves, or forced to do so. The question is how do we relate with these people we meet, are we “humanistic” in our way we relate with them. I think the way we relate with them can be a blessing to us but also a curse.
What I mean is that we have Salesians who have stayed with us for a long time but because of one reason or another, they are no longer with us, some of them were supported by us and these are our potential benefactors, but it becomes hard for them to contribute to the mission if we had related poorly with them. If we could build strong bonds with former confreres or our collaborators that would be better for the future of the mission since we are in a shared mission of the church.
Remember, I am not saying we are generally relating badly with our collaborators but if it happens, so it will be to the disadvantage of our current and future mission.
Morris Ohuru, sdb

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