On Almsgiving

Since I have nothing to do on the afternoon of an infamous day called Valentine’s day (and since I’ll get into a hell lot of trouble if I sleep,) I’ve kept myself busy writing this article to look busy. Here are four of my experiences on almsgiving.

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My wife and one of her close friends used to hang out in the Sunken Garden during afternoons. They got to know a group of boys who scrambled for left-overs of people who ate lunch at Beach House (that place near the Main Lib infamous for their barbecue.) They would also ask for money from people around the Sunken Garden area. I also got to encounter such kids then but since I felt nothing but indifference for them then, I just snubbed them.

Back to my wife’s story. She and her friend would even buy food to give those kids just as they would talk to the guys. Because of this they got to know the life of one kid (I think his name was Kevin.) Kevin told them that he used the money he got to support the studies of his younger brother or sister, I’m not really sure.

A couple of years later, my wife encountered Kevin and called him. The boy approached with an astonished look and asked how she knew him. Then my wife told him how she and her friend used to spend time with them. As she had described it, Kevin’s gratitude was more than enough to fulfill her sense of charity.

I guess I have to admit that this has reawakened the dying sense of altruism I had back then.

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As I was walking along Philcoa one afternoon, a dirty boy approached me and asked for a few coins. Since I intended my extra 5 pesos to be spent on cigarettes, I didn’t find it hard to give it up for something “worth it”.

The kid, after receiving the coin, quickly went to a group of other children playing cara y cruz. I stood there dumbfounded for a moment.

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It was an early Saturday or Sunday morning. I was hungry so I decided to eat a heavy breakfast at one of the food stalls at SC. Just as I was about to eat after I sat down, two dirty boys suddenly enter the place and ask me for food. Just as I looked at them, those at the counter started driving them away. Amidst the shooing, the boys kept asking for food.

I told the ladies that it was alright then told the boys to go ask for anything they want and that I would be the one to pay for them.

The kids went out of the door with their stuff. As I looked at their exit and weighed whatever I felt back then, I knew I did the right thing.

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I was riding a jeep from work towards Cubao when a 5 year old kid entered the jeep. He proceeded to wipe the shoes of the passengers and as he was going out, asked for money from the passengers.

A man handed him a few coins and told him that 75 centavos was all he had because he had just started working.

After getting off the jeep, the kid threw back the coins saying “o ayan na yang pera mo!” And the kid was even laughing.

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So what do I think of almsgiving now? Just the same, I still give to beggars, the needy, street children, etc. However, I’ve learned not to expect something wonderful all the time.

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Note: I’ve actually written this for highfiber last February. Much as I’d want to write something new in my humble spot of the internet, my muscle pains and colds (and throw in a daunting deadline at work,) just won’t allow me to. It was all for a good cause anyway so the “Almsgiving” repost will have to do for now.

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