Friday, April 9, 2010
Can you spare some change?
In Lima you will find beggars everywhere, especially in the touristy areas. Shoeless mothers with babies, toothless older women sit on the sidewalks stretching their hand for anything you can give them. The saddest part is that you will see lonely children harassing you to buy some candy or chewing gum. Some of their stories are heartbreaking. Beggars are willing to do something in return for your money; they just don’t ask. They either sell something or try to entertain you. You’ll hardly find anyone asking you for “one dollar” as you may encounter in the U.S.
I have seen kids dancing on the streets, playing music with improvised instruments, doing tricks and somersaults in the middle of the roads at the red lights; even spitting fire as if they were in the circus.
Once, while in a taxi, the car stopped at the red light; a boy approached the car and started singing. The poor kid was so out of tune and right in my face. He must have been 8 years old. I asked what his name was and he said: “José.” I reached to my pocket and gave him one sol, the equivalent of thirty cents. He seemed happy despite knowing he would never be on “American Idol.”