Day 226 (Return of the Indian Beggar)

Mood: Placid

Mode: Pensif


This picture was taken over the weekend at the K-Rep Building opposite the French School along Argwings Kodhek. It depicts an Indian man with a sad look on this face, appearing to be talking to a motorist in the car park of the previously mentioned premises.

This is not my first encounter with this man.

About six months ago, Kipepeo and I were sitting in her car in the Sarit Centre parking lot talking when she notices an Indian guy standing on the sidewalk infront of the car. He looked like he was waiting for someone so we ignored him until she asked me whether I thought the guy seemed okay. I hadn’t really looked at him before and when I did, I could see he was crying. He was actually crying. A grown man. Crying. The Indian guy realised we were both looking at him and then timidly approaches the car we’re sitting in. The passenger-side window was already rolled down so he greets us. He’s still got tears in his eyes. Kipepeo responds to his “hi” with a “hello” and that’s when he blurted out:

“I don’t know whether you can help me. I’m having a really big problem”

Apparently the story is as follows: he was kicked out of his Indian community because he went off and married a Kalenjin woman. They had three daughters together but one of them died recently due to heart complications. His problem? He doesn’t have enough money to bury his daughter. He showed us a creased photo of his three little mixed-race girls and couldn’t hold back his tears as he narrated to us the story of how he’s been trying to raise money for the burial of his little daughter. In the process of us asking him questions, he told us that his wife and himself are currently unemployed so they have no money to pay for the burial and they have no relatives they can turn to for help. Kipepeo was so moved by this crying Indian man’s story that she reached into her purse, pulls out the money she had and gave it to him.
I just sat there.

Fast forward to today when I’m walking back from Yaya and I see the same Indian guy pulling the same stunt on another innocent victim. What the picture does not clearly show is that the car actually had a couple in it, a man and a woman much like when it was Kipepeo and I. I stopped and observed the Indian guy for a while and I could see he was putting on the same show as he had done before. And it was at that point I whipped out my camera (‘smokey’… yes, it has a name and ‘it’ actually happens to be a ‘he’) and decided to take a photo of it all. The sun was kinda bright that afternoon so I couldnt really zoom in well on that Oscar-winning performance by the Indian guy.
As you can probably tell from the tone of this post, I dont believe that Indian guy’s cause is genuine at all. I had my doubts six months ago but seeing this just confirmed those doubts.
If his cause was at all genuine, he wouldnt go around begging as he’s clearly been doing, moving from Westlands to Hurlingham preying on well-wishers in their cars asking for “assistance”. He doesnt look unemployable to me, does he? Imagine if all Kenyans dealt with their ‘problems’ the way he’s clearly chosen to deal with his own? Assuming his story is actually real, begging is a waste of precious time and is conduct unbecoming of a breadwinner. I refuse to believe he has exhausted all his options and was left with no choice but to go around begging.

On the other hand, if this is all just one big scam to get money out of people, I take off my hat to him. As an up-close witness to his past performance, I must say he’s quite good at what he does.


Now playing: Nas ft Lauryn Hill – ‘If I Ruled The World”

2 thoughts on “Day 226 (Return of the Indian Beggar)

  1. Well, acting doesn’t pay that well, if you do it in the, well, the normal way… But he looks like he’d be better off at some hardware store somewhere, checking off consignments and ish…

  2. Wow, too funny. [Sorry, Kipepeo]

    I agree with you tho – that’s gotta be dude’s hustle. The urban myth goes that the average panhandler, over here anyway, can make as much as $200-300 a day, especially at a Walmart or something. Maybe he found it more lucrative to make money that way.

    But if I’m mistaken & he’s for real, forgive me, Man Upstairs.

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