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Backpacking through Europe


tyovan4
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Im in London now, but this happened yesterday in Warsaw.

was walking along the street, and a woman started speaking to me in Polish. I explained to her that I didn't understand, etc. Then she started speaking to me in English. She spoke very quietly, and there were tears in her eyes, it was obviusly difficult for her to talk to me about this.

She never asked for money. She explained that she had lost her job and was now living on the street and asked if I would buy her some food. I thought I might be getting ripped off, so I asked well, what kind of food? She said whatever kind of food that I wanted to buy. I said, ok how about some bread. She already had bread, so I suggested something to eat on the bread - maybe some meat or cheese. She agreed to get some cheese. We went into the shop and she asked how much I would buy for her. I said 10 zloty worth of meat.

She picked it out and I paid - got about 40 grosz (cents) back. I gave it to her, she never asked for any money what-so-ever. Then she thanked me, with tears in her eyes, and wished me a good day. And I walked away. And I walked maybe one block and realized how horrible I was. I'm spending thousands of dollars on a trip - on pleasure. I had just spend 110 zloty on a picture book of Poland the day before. I didn't *need* any of these things. They weren't necessary to live.

And here was someone who had a legitimate need. They werent one of the beggers dressed nicely and with a smile on their face as they asked for money. She *needed* this money. She needed this food to live. And I, a wealthy Westerner, could only spare $3.33 for a fellow human being in need. I had $50 in my pocket. Why didn't I give it all to her - it wouldn't have affected me in the slightest and I simply could have walked two blocks to the ATM to get more money.

I also consider myself a bit of a socialist. I dislike having so many wealthy people and so many poor people - I think the wealth should be redistributed (to some extent anyways) so that the poor can benefit as well from the world's wealth. And yet what I did was so hypocritical and against my personal beliefs. I'm pro-socialism when it means I get a cheap university education, but I'm a cheap ###### when someone wants money from me for food. And only for food!! She *never* asked for money, only for food.

I felt bad, and I felt worse because I was on my way to a nice restaurant to eat. Where I would spend 20 zloty on a Pepsi and 8 pierogis for myself without thinking twice about it.

So I decided. I would go back. And find this woman. And take her with me to the restaurant and buy her food, whatever she wanted there, buy her something warm to drink - tea, coffee, whatever - and let her sit in the warm restaurant instead of standing on the cold street. And back I went - I had only walked two blocks away, I figured she would still be where I left her.

But I couldn't find her. I looked. Up and down that street. For ten minutes. And now I'm sitting here in the hostel enjoying free satellite tv, free internet, and free breakfast in the morning. And I'm not even sure if she'll live through the night.

I feel like a ###### - I should have looked harder for her, I should have brought her more food at first, I should have offered to take her to the restaurant when I had the chance.

I feel guilty. For being wealthy, for being Western, for having an easy life. She never had that chance, only because she was born here and I was born there - a fact neither of us can help.

And when she asked for my help, I didn't do all that I could have for a fellow human being in need...... And now I'm ashamed.

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There is no need to feel guilty. You do not do the travelling you have done without learning to trust no-one and be very careful who you speak to and what you do.

That's all you were doing initially, you were very much correct to treat her approach with suspicion, it would have been silly in the extreme to have thought anything else. As it turns out, she was apparantly genuine, but you were not to know that at the time.

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Is that "friend from Boston in front of the Paul Revere House" the chick that walked your evil dog?

No, this is Marianna. The woman that walked my evil dog is Tatiana.

Here's a little trivia for you ... why is it that all of Amsterdam building facade's lean forward?

No idea mate..

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Here's a little trivia for you ... why is it that all of Amsterdam building facade's lean forward?

No idea mate..

Well, because land was typically sold by the area of ground, the Dutch would buy small parcels and build upwards resulting in slender but rather tall homes and structures. This made for transporting heavy furniture very cumbersome through stairs. So you might notice a wench like object protruding from the roofs of their homes. They would sling rope around that and hoist large furniture up and bring it in through the windows from the outside. The facades were built to lean out to prevent the furniture from scraping up against it as it was hoisted up.

Don't ever say this masterless samurai never taught you anything. :thumbsup:

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