Begging. It makes us nervous. We squirm. We try to look away. We attempt to ignore.
But many places I go in the world I can’t ignore those that are begging. My heart screams to help. My head, in frantic fits of logic tells me why helping is a bad idea.
While the poverty is real, beggars in some countries beg as part of organized crime. Babies have been rented by beggars for better results. Children have been maimed to attract soft hearts.
Will my giving actually help (other than ease my conscience)? Will it reinforce a culture of dependency? Will it just reward criminal gangs that “own” the beggars?
I don’t have any hard and fast answers. I have given. I have ignored. I have laughed and played with children beggars without giving them anything. I have bought food for obviously hungry beggars. I have said NO when pushed by overly aggressive beggars that don’t sit right with me.
All I know for certain is, that in a few weeks, I will have the same battle of choices during my next assignment.