The Rose

On my desk, propped up in my journal, sits a solitary dried rose. Of all of my possessions, I do believe it is one of the most valuable to me. It’s not made of anything unusual or expensive such as fine cloth or gold. No. It’s just a real, red rose that I brought home from Bangladesh with me, hidden away in my journal lest Canadian customs detect it and remove it from my possession. Funny that this rose should mean so much when I don’t even know the name of the young boy who gave it to me. Perhaps it is special because of the emotions it fills me with whenever I look at it.

Allow me to explain.

Everyday, when we left and arrived at our hotel, we were greeted by a beggar woman and her children. She would stand there patiently while we filed in or out of our vans while her children would put there hands out and then touch their lips, indicating that they needed money to buy some food.

Our group, of course, would want to give her money, but we knew that if we did, we would quickly be surrounded by other beggars and the situation could turn ugly. Some of us, however, would discretely slip some money into her hands and quickly hop into the van, without anyone noticing. I know I did on many occasions. In the morning and the evening, with the suggestions of our interpreters, we would bring food from the hotel, leftovers from our meals; rice, pizza, chicken and vegetables, and quickly give her the bags, smile and walk away. In an attempt to retain this woman’s dignity, we would employ her services to help us walk across the highly congested and fast flowing traffic, whenever we needed to get to the stores across from our hotel.

One evening, as I was rummaging through my suitcase, I came across a pair of dollar store sandals that I had bought before my trip to use when I went to the pool. I never did use them, the pool area seemed to be very sanitary and I didn’t need them to keep my feet from contacting anything horrible. But I knew the beggar woman could use them. She had no shoes.

The next day, when we were leaving early in the morning, I gave her the shoes wrapped in a plastic bag, smiled and hopped into the van. I watched as she opened up the bag, and a huge smile grew across her face. She quickly put the shoes on her bare, calloused feet and began to dance. All of us in the van smiled and laughed with her. A pair of shoes, worth a measly dollar, had given this woman more happiness than I had ever seen.

The next day, when we were leaving on another morning excursion, the beggar woman met us again, but this time, her son who she was holding in her arms, reached out to me and gave me a perfect, God created, red rose. I took the rose, kissed the boy on the top of his head, and hopped into our van. Then I cried.

I think that the reason I cried was because I had, at that moment, been humbled in the presence of the most loving and caring and giving person in all of my life. And even as I am writing this my cheeks are streaked with falling tears. This family had nothing and yet they wanted to give something to show their gratitude. But the part that hurt the most for me was as I looked out of the van to see the beggar woman and her children, I noticed that she did not have the shoes on her feet. She had sold them or exchanged them for food to give to her children. I sobbed even harder.

And now when I see this rose each day as I work at my desk I am filled with a surge of humility. One rose given to me by a child and a beggar woman whose names I don’t even know. God forgive me for my pride.

And as I think of all of the good things that are occurring in Bangladesh, in any of the 60+ Area Development Programs that World Vision is involved in there, my only hope for this woman and her children is that World Vision would be able to move into her area and bring the opportunities to these people so that they do not need to resort to the degradation of begging.



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Sandra said,

    Ahhhhhhhhhh Dauna, that is such a sad, yet beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes. God bless you.

  2. 2

    moi said,

    That really touched my heart. I hope some kind of miracle will happen to this lady and her children so she will be able to pull herself out of her poverty.

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