These streets, they are filled with people like us
abandoned here and together each day we get consumed by thirst
Staring at the stars
we all yawn into the night as we watch the numbers grow
Because we all know tomorrow is just another’s day to tow
Vote for us, the better leaders, they say each voting year
but to this very day, ladies and gentlemen, be informed that we have seen none thus far
Regardless, we try to never give up hope for our beautiful young country
Even though hope is an ideal hard to consume when you’re hungry.
I want to take a picture of you when you’re not looking at the camera. I want to take a picture of you enjoying that moment. I want to take a picture of you in your natural element.
Most often many want to be notified before a picture is taken, before the shutter is pressed all the way down. Most people find it odd that no warnings are given when I snap pictures of them. The warning/notification is supposed to serve as a buffer to give them a bit of time to ‘prepare’ for the picture. Some will turn to their ‘good’ side, the ladies will set their hair and for most people this is the time to fish for that plastic smile. But nothing beats a genuine smile; a smile that has been triggered by the right emotion. A smile that hasn’t been forced out but one that comes out the right way at the right time. An infectious smile that makes you smile too.
Her legs were folded and tucked away in a humbling posture that’s supposed to tell you that she’s a girl in distress asking for help. She was seated on the narrow sidewalk. The traffic was still held up. The car engine went silent. I kept staring at her. Her thin body fidgeted to find comfort in a posture that was clearly straining her folded feet. She waved at strangers along the street trying to grab their attention and, when she succeeded, immediately pointed to her mouth, tummy then stretched her thin hands out, palm open; a universal begging sign. She wasn’t having much luck with most passersby who tried hard not to make eye contact but she kept the routine running regardless. Behind her was a pack of cut and diced up fruits. Those small things that go for lukumi. The fruit pack was partly open. Perhaps a good Samaritan donated their lunch to the young hungry looking soul who’s probably saving up the rest for later, at least that’s what I initially thought.
An older lady holding a baby walked up to her. She was dressed like a street beggar too. She stopped and started talking to the young girl on the sidewalk, legs still folded. There was tension in the girl’s eyes. Almost like she was talking to an authoritative figure; a handler, a pimp, a caretaker, an elder asking uncomfortable questions. They talked for a bit then the old lady bent down and took the fruit pack. She talked to the girl again who then put her hand down her skirt and pulled out a couple of coins which she handed to the older lady who slowly walked away.
It got me thinking.
Was this just another day of survival for her? Would she eat some of those fruits she got? Would some of that money be spent on her? Was the old lady a relative or was she just the treasure collector? Is it true that these beggars on the street are just part of a bigger system that exploits them for their hard work? Where do all the collections go at the end of the day? How is the food and money split?
#TheThinGirlOnTheSidewalk #Notes #Thoughts #Observations #Questions #Uganda #Kampala Streets #KampalaCity #PavementLife #JoeyLawrence #JoeyL