November 16, 2008

Saddest Thing Ever

While on my way home from a dinner at my in-laws, I crossed the saddest scene ever on Hamra. A cart with turmos had fallen over. You know, the yellow beans they sell on a carton dish, with cumin, salt and chunks of lemon? (Some call them lupini beans.)

And in between the yellow beans and lemons, strewn over the cobblestones, sat an older gentleman, grey haired, in his sixties, if not more, crying.
He was dressed very decently; dark pants, striped shirt. And there he sat, while the police looked on, and the traffic tried to navigate around him; crying.

I don’t know how his cart had fallen over. Maybe it had tipped over when he tried to navigate the side walk. Or maybe in a scuffle with the police. This type of commerce is no longer allowed in Hamra, and there was a police car next to him.

Anyway, there he sat, in between his turmos beans, his head in his hands. Crying. A man old enough to be your father. Or your grandfather. That a man at that age still has to walk the streets at night, trying to sell beans at 2,000 pounds a dish. Somehow the scene broke my heart. Maybe it was because everyone was hurrying home, it was dark, and with the thought of warm, well-lit house waiting for you, this man in the dark, under the street lamp, crying over his beans, really did it.

I stopped and got out of the car to give him money. And who do I spot there? My hubbie on his bike. Also giving him money. And so were several by-standers. They all stuffed some bills in his hand. He got up, and the police escorted him away, leaving his beans on the street. And while I walked back to my car, I still saw some people hopping out of their car, giving money, and driving on.

I hope he made his money tonight. I think he did, probably twice as much as he would have selling beans.
The Lebanese can be so good at times.

6 comments:

Simple Answer said...

That is utterly heartbreaking!

Anonymous said...

Let me give you another one. I had to go to court last week because I didn't agree with a traffic fine. The court was in Rotterdam, I was in the courthouse, waiting in the corridor outside the courtroom for the judge to call my case.

Opposite the corridor was a girl, 15 years old, with an older man, clearly not her father. They sat there and they waited, for their judge and their case. They talked a little and I understood from the conversation that the girl had to appear in court because she failed to turn up at school repeatedly. The girl was very quiet, she talked a few words sometimes, looked at her feet, stared away. I could see she felt uncomfortable, afraid maybe, not knowing what to expect.

And then a man walked in and sayd hello to the girl, he is her teacher from high school. He asked "where's your mother, why is your mother not here?". The girl explained quietly that her mother didn't have time to accompany her to court, she was busy. And then she looked at her feet again. Right... the teacher looked at me, and he sighed.

So there she was, in the courthouse, in trouble, mommy has no time, and in a few minutes some unrelated grown-ups will decide about her future, and she is totally alone.

And then a third man walked in, and he introduced himself to the girl: "hi, I'm xxxx from Jeugdzorg, I will replace yyyy today because he's busy, sorry". Jeugdzorg is our Governments Youthcare Office. So Jeugdzorg has an officer who is responsable for this girl, but when she is to appear in court he doesn't have time. Like the mother.

There was nobody to pick up this girl, no-one to help her, and it made me feel very uncomfortable. Y.

Marieke said...

But why is it illegal to sell stuff like this? I love it and these people have to do something to make money! They aren't bothering anybody! It's not like they would be totally overcrowding the neighbourhood. I lived next to Hbeish police station and they brought confiscated carts there and sometimes spent some hours demolishing them right under my balcony (at night, with a lot of noise). It always made me feel so angry and so sorry for the poor guys who lost their livelihood like this. I'm glad to read people cared. I hope he didn't get arrested or anything?

Kheireddine said...

My heart is also broken, I always think about the poor people who are trying to make a living in a country where welfare does not exist and where life is very harsh when there is no money...
Seitske, you are good people, thank you.

Jundi said...

thats so sad and u told it so well .. i think i wouldve cried if i saw it ..
heck i almost cry when i see roadkill .. i feel so sorry for the animal .. im not kidding walla ..

Anonymous said...

in a way you look like Hana, bringing this home.
Love you both in mind!!
Dimphy