ENGAGING STRANGERS: KOBUS
You can't live in Durban for very long and not notice the poverty. It's everywhere. My honest opinion is that poverty is not just about whether you're well off financially. There are people everywhere that are spiritually battered and bruised. Now I'm not saying we should give money to a beggar, street child or hobo every time we come across one. Plus I don't think money is always the solution. Many poor people have issues with alcohol or drug abuse. Not all of them, but some of them. There is however something we can give every time. Our attention. Some times that's all a person needs. Just a simple greeting and chat. If they ask for money and you don't want to give say, just say, "I'm sorry I can't give you money, I just wanted to say Hi". Seriously, try it! Most people just ignore them, probably out of guilt, frustration or annoyance, but I think ignoring them is far more rude than not giving them anything.
Now, I'm not saying Kobus here is poor or other issues. Far from it. When I met him recently on a side road in Underberg, he did seem like he had been through a bit of a hard time, but he was friendly enough. We chatted for a while, maybe 20 minutes. I asked him about his tattoo. He said if I ever came through the area again not to forget to come say hello. "Don't forget me", was the last thing he said. "Don't forget me". Funny that. Out of all the things he could have said as I left, he asked that. That made me sad to be honest, that he felt forgotten. I will visit Kobus again, and we'll chat more.