So, I was walking back to the office today after sitting in a coffee shop drinking a Seattle Coffee Company Grandé Caramel Chocolate Latté with cream (v.v.v. nice) and looking over a magazine wondering if I should get my hopes up that I’ll be able to get a Motorola MPX220 when I’m able to upgrade my phone on my Vodacom contract expires.

When [OH MY WORD, I was just looking up the domain for Seattle Coffee Company so I could put a link there when I found THIS news from like over a year ago saying that Starbucks bought Seattle Coffee Company, which is like super awesome because maybe we’ll actually get a Starbucks in good old South Africa (BTW, when are we South Africans going to get ownership of our .COM domain)… Anyway, I really hope we get one here – I’ll be their biggest fan. :-)] …. Ok where was I?

So I was on the way back to the office when I got asked very politely by a guy sitting on the pavement for some money… Now having grown up in the huge metropolis (NOT!) of Grahamstown, where the non-beggar to beggar ratio is about 1:5 I’ve kinda got quite used to saying “Sorry” and just walking on ignoring their pleas.  But today it struck me… I know that probably 9 out of 10 of these people actually are “fakes” who just beg because its easier than working and its good money. (Non south african’s might not understand that, but some of the beggars here earn probably more than most varsity leavers would)  BUT – lets just say that 1 out of the 10 is genuine… How do you help that 1 genuine case?  What help is really available for them?

Its like bus schedules in JHB, they must exist somewhere but where they are is definately NOT advertised…  I couldn’t tell you if our busses even have regular routes, because I’ve never seen a bus shelter with a route map on it. (Which would be the obvious place to put them IMHO)

So how would someone whose out of a job, got no money, no home, and no food get to hear about shelters, feeding schemes, or work placement facilities?  Do they even exist? 

Any pointers would be great… I’d rather give beggars a helping hand than get them “hooked” on handouts… at least that’s what I think I’d want someone to do for me if I was in the same situation.  I just don’t know where I’d start.

2 replies on “Disadvantaged…”

Firstly, Hell T F yeah on the starbucks thing – if only for the wifi and the strawberries and cream/coffee smoothie thingymabob, it rocks.

With regards the beggars, it’s a catch 22, by supporting one real beggar, your perpetuating the act of begging with another faker. I have taken to only supporting the guys who sell homeless talk (hmmm, I see a related post brewing), at least there you are helping people that are helping themselves. At the end of every month, I usually have three copies sitting in my back seat unread. But hey, what’s R15? As far as I’m concerned, with the odd exception, beggars deserve nothing. There is a guy on our corner near northgate that stands begging, he’s a young fit guy of about 20 – why in the world does he think i’d help him?

Sad news is, it’s an epidemic and requires a near zero-tolerance approach…!

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