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3 August 2011 / leggypeggy

Bugger the beggars

Detail over the entrance to the church we were shooed out of today because we were wearing shorts.

We leave Georgia tomorrow—heading for Azerbaijan. We’ve had a delightful stay here and the only thing I won’t miss is the squadron of beggars lurking at every corner of Tbilisi, the national capital.

They’re all ages and they’re everywhere. Standing outside every supermarket or shopping centre, stationed in front of every church, parked outside most hotels and restaurants, or casually waiting for a likely victim to pass. It’s like a job. I guess it is a job.

I saw two women, dressed better than me, flanking the path by the church with their hands outstretched and asking for money. Soon after that the priest kicked us out of the church because we were wearing shorts.

Speaking of priests, there was one sitting on a bench in front of Parliament with a cardboard charity box. The woman who has been on duty outside the local supermarket for the last two days wasn’t there this morning, but a ring-in was. The regular was back after lunchtime and the interloper was long gone.

We had a tour of the old city this morning. Some young girls were playing in the street and as we approached, one suddenly stepped forward with her hand out and said, ‘Money, money, money’. Frankly I might have given her some if she had sung it. You know the tune.

Late this afternoon I must have just missed a miracle cure. There was a vacant wheelchair with two crutches propped beside it. Or perhaps the chair just sits there overnight.

Ethiopia is the only place I’ve seen worse begging. Lalibela even has signs posted throughout town asking tourists NOT to give money or any other items to begging children. The signs say the community knows who needs help and it will help them. Most hotels have a charity box that says, more or less, ‘put your donation here and we’ll make sure it goes to the right places’.

P.S. I’d love to post a relevant photo, but I’d have had to pay to take one. I’m not above doing that, nor am I opposed to donating to certain beggars. I gave away plenty in Africa. It’s just such a business here, that I’ve decided not to give anything to anyone.


Leave a Comment
  1. Gary Walker / Aug 3 2011 9:14 am

    When I was in Mexico we were told (forbidden) NOT to give the beggar children money. If they make money from the tourists the parents won’t send them to school.

    It’s very difficult to pass by the cute children and not think that a few extra pesos in your pocket that you won’t notice will change their lives. It’s like telling a cute little freckled-faced Girl Scout selling Thin Mint cookies to go away.

    I just can’t do it. Even though I HATE those horrible Girl Scout Cookies… I buy a box every time.


  2. leggypeggy / Aug 3 2011 1:07 pm

    I know you’re a soft touch. So you can continue to buy Girl Scout Cookies, but don’t encourage the beggars. Guess that means you can’t go to Mexico again. 🙂


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