Heartbreaking

As in many parts of the world, when you drive around urban areas of Madagascar, people will tap on your window asking for money.  Frequently these are little people.  There are many theories about how to respond – sometimes the kids are exploited by adults and sent out to beg, often carrying babies – and you never know if you are actually contributing to the problem in spite of your best intentions.  There are thousands of them in the streets of Antananarivo, and there is no way for one person to help them all.

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Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.  These little guys, dirty, barefoot, and hungry, waited patiently while we gathered up our costly electronics and valuables so they wouldn’t be left in our (20-year-old) Land Cruiser.  I finally broke down and gave them the only food we happened to have with us – four cream/chocolate filled beignets and a couple of juice boxes.  Everybody deserves a cream filled beignet every now and then.  They plopped down on the sidewalk and started gobbling them up right away.

As we walked away, one of them called, “Monsieur – photo!  Photo!” – so I kneeled down and obliged by snapping this photo and showing them the result.

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