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Tickle · the · Pear


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Sometimes when I walk around in the neighborhood I'm trailed by one or more young boys looking for food or change to place in tin cans hanging around their necks. I've been told that these young boys are students at Koranic schools and are sent out in the streets to beg.

Last Friday evening as I was on my way to the international school for Trivia Night I was followed by a boy who looked about five or six years old. He chanted repeatedly, probably in the only French he knows, "Bonsoir, ça va, donne-moi quelque chose." (Hi, how are you, give me something.)

I responded, as I usually do, with "What are YOU going to give ME?" as I strode forward. He kept following me and repeated his request for something, anything. I repeated my answer.

Finally he stopped by my side. I stopped too. He held out his hand, and slowly unfurled his fist. In his hand was a 25 F coin. Less than half a penny. That's what he was going to give me.

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