Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: A Little Girl's Fruit
By Daniel Owino Ogweno
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I ignored the knock, hoping that she would get tired and just open the door and come back in. “Did she forget something?” I wondered.
I had still wanted to lazy on bed that morning since I didn’t have any serious assignment. The week had been heavy but I was happy to finish an important assignment ahead of schedule. My boss rewarded my hard work by giving me a day off. Being Friday, I would have a long weekend.
Still wondering why my wife started knocking at the door immediately she stepped out of the house, I reluctantly stood up from the bed to check what it was all about. By the time I had my clothes on, the knocking had subsided. I went to the door but just for a formality—it had been about three minutes since the knocking subsided. I didn’t expect to find anybody there.
A young girl, about 11 years old stood there waiting nervously but determinedly. She looked clean but her clothes were telling another story—they were tattered and at some parts parched with different multi-coloured fabrics.
She spoke first. “Do you have a fruit in the house?”
I got her question but I felt I was the one who could have asked her some few questions and in the process find out why she was at my door that early.
I wasn’t sure if there was a fruit in the house. It was taking time to answer her. Meanwhile, I had built enough profile in my mind to figure out “who” she was and “what” she wanted. She is a beggar who wants some fruit to eat. But why should she start begging too early?
“I know what you are thinking”, she caught me off-guard. She continued, “I am not after your fruit, instead I have a fruit that I want to ‘sell’ to you”. Wondering what she was talking about, my eyes scanned the area and saw that she had a basket that she had placed on the ground near the flowerbed. I hadn’t noticed it.
All this time I hadn’t spoken a word. Again, before I could respond, my mind was busy profiling her.
“She is definitely from a poor family”, I established. They must have slept without food and that explains why she is out early in the morning “selling” fruits. I felt sorry for her.
As if the girl was reading my mind, she spoke again interrupting the trail of my thoughts and the preparation to answer her.
“I know what you are thinking, but I am not after your money and don’t feel sorry for me”.
She pulled an apple from the basket and placed it in my hand and said, “You can ‘buy’ it for free!”
I wasn’t going to accept the fruit without paying for it, especially from such a poor girl. I was not going to ask her how much she wanted for the fruit but I would give her some money that I was sure would be more than the price of the fruit.
Once again, she caught me unawares. “I know what you are thinking”, she said.
I was beginning to profile this girl as an arrogant little girl. She doesn’t see to wait for my answers for the questions she is asking. And, she doesn’t seem to have anything to be proud about. Why does she think I can get her fruit for free?
The phone rang and as I was excusing myself asking her to give me a minute, she hurriedly spoke the following words:
“That is the problem with you rich people, you think that you can only give and not receive, especially from poor people”.
When I came back after attending the phone, she was gone.
I sat down and wept. I had indeed refused spiritual fruit from the poor people, thinking that I can only “give” and not “receive” anything from them.
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