I would like to share a story with NomadGreen citizen journalists which happened to me seven years ago. Every time I think about this story, I become thoughtful and sad. I have never told this story to anyone before and today I decided to share it with all of you.
We were second grade journalist students at The National University of Mongolia and used to live in a campus. It was the beginning of spring and exams had started. I was waiting my classmate in the waiting room of the campus to go to the library. The student campus has strict rules. Not everyone is allowed to enter the campus. There is only this head sized small window for guests to call who they would like to see.
My mind was occupied with thought of upcoming exams while I was waiting my classmate and it was disrupted by very hoarse and exhausted voice of a man asking “Can you give me some water? Please”. Actually there was nobody in the waiting room except me. I looked to the direction where I heard someone talking to me and there was a homeless man, looked like in his fourties stretching his arm with a plastic bottle through the small window to me.
At that moment it was more difficult for me to get close to a homeless man than bringing some water.
Even though I really wanted to bring him some water, I didn’t have the courage to do it. I was standing like a statue and saying nothing. I didn’t help the man even he asked me many times. Suddenly when my eyes met that homeless man’s eyes, my heart started to beat so fast. He was swearing in his mouth and turned back to leave. I run to the restroom as fast as I could. I can’t forget his look.
The washbasin in the restroom was filled with dirt and garbage and tap water flew out all over the floor. At that moment I thought “The water which was split all over the floor and used carelessly costs some people great difficulty to find it.” And I bitterly regretted not giving the poor man some water. I was suffering bitterly every time I put myself in his situation and I can imagine how thirsty he was.
After a while my friend came down and we went to the library. On the way I told her what has just happened. I forgot about it for a while for reason that our mind was occupied with study. I left the library and went around the corner of a building, I saw two policemen were arresting about ten homeless people including the man I refused to give water earlier. I was shocked to see that man again and whispered to myself “The man was arrested”. The man also recognized me and gave me that angry look until he disappeared around the corner. I could clearly tell from his eyes that he thinks that I am a “Poor and unkind girl”.
But I can’t forgive myself for not giving him water and feel so guilty and thought “It was just water splitting on the floor”. This story makes me very thoughtful. Therefore, It stayed in my mind for many days and I had suffered a lot.
Everywhere I go like after school, going to the library and meeting my friends, garbage and plastic bottle collectors, poor women carrying her babies and kids polishing shoes reminded me the story and made me feel sad.
Although they swear at people, dirty, rude and pessimistic, they are human. They have a right to drink water.
“If there is a god, please give me one more chance to give him some water. I will never do that again, why their lives are so challenging and difficult” I prayed.
After ten days when I was telling about the unpleasant story to my friend, suddenly a man showed up behind the window. Because I live on the first floor and the window was open. “Please give me some water” asked a man. This man wasn’t him, but was another homeless man. My face lit up. I said “Of course” and took his bottle and run to the bathroom.
My friend had probably noticed how pleased I was. While I was giving back the bottle filled with water I said to him “If you want some water again, please ask me, I will give you some”.
After ten minutes, the man showed up again. “Can you give me some water again, I know I am too greedy” said the man with worrying face. I gave him some water again without any fear. While I was handing him the bottle, he said “Everyone makes mistake”. I felt uncomfortable inside. The man left and I lay on my bed. Started to think about those days. Asked myself “Why did he say that?”
I have always believed that god listen my wish and gave me one more chance. So my suffering of “being stingy on water” replaced with joy and I was so relieved.
These people experience shortage, living so poor don’t have water to drink and food to eat and just earning merely enough to feed themselves for a day. They got used to their lives. Being discriminated and looked at as if they were pig or dog is already normal and can happen hundred times a day. There are people among them who were used to be famous, honored, employed, rich and had families at the time and became one of them. What I understood was “They are one of us”.
(Translated by Odontuya Tsetseg|Proofread by Portnoy)
See the link: http://en.nomadgreen.org/archives/7348