We are already in the terminal of the bus that will take us to Mozambique, but we still have to wait 10 hours to leave.
The pain in my foot seems to be calmed down with the medicine and the bandage. We walk a bit inside the terminal while several people approach us offering any service or counting any unfortunate story to get money from us. It’s a bit annoying, so we decide to leave the place and walk around.
The day is sunny. The street vendors are abundant in this part of the city. We see a small market with basic items and also legumes and vegetables. We walk a little forward and find many shops selling fake hair, beautiful fake gold jewelry, traditional and casual clothes, all type of shoes, and many advertisements of prophets whom predict the future.
Just as there are many sellers, there are many people looking for food in trash bins. Many look at us with distrust. As many others, mostly men, come to tell us some unfortunate history in order to get some charity. Sincerely, we rarely believe the stories that the beggars tell us and we distrust that the reasons why certain people ask for money, are true. We also feel that we can’t support people who prefer to invest time begging on the street instead of learning a task to get money honestly. That‘s why we say to everybody hat we cant give them and keep walking away.
I think that we are walking very fast. I am doing too much effort and my foot begins to bother me, looks even more bloated now. We stop to rest and check it. 5 minutes later, a man approaches us, sits next to us with good manners and a good talk. He seems to be friendly and not interested but in a social conversation.
By his knowledge of politics, history and geography we can see he spent time learning. Now, he has our attention, here he starts to tell us his misfortune: He works without being paid, he in temporally doing a political researching and is waiting for the end of the week to get his work paid. What he needs now is a little help to take a return transport to his home. In brief, he needs money.
It’s been already an hour and a half since he sat down beside us. He has shown evidence of his research. Everything is well organized and written by hand. We’re tired and I have much discomfort, so I begin to despair. I give a brief speech about how nasty and unlucky are those people that get money deceiving the goodwill of others. I get sentimental and my voice breaks. I gave him 50 Rand to pay for his transportation. Actually I feel sad to see this intellectual man in such a need. Maybe he is saying the truth. Perhaps he has not eaten all day.
We said goodbye. I can see some embarrassment on his face. I’m not sure if it is that at the end he felt guilty for fooling us or actually felt embarrassed to beg.
He said that we would write someday… we will see.