I had an interestingly revelatory experience last Sunday. Having just arrived in church, I went outside to try to get something to eat so as to enable me use effectively the medicine that was supposed to help me recuperate from Malaria. Getting to the food kiosk at Ikosi road, I was lost in thought trying to contemplate the most economically viable option for me to eat. It was then I came across the BEGGAR I would eventually consider as one of the most creative Nigerians I’ve met in recent times.
He approached me with the look that made it obvious to me he was about to ask something of me. I’m usually not too given to be merciful to people that just walk up to me in church to ask for money. Most of the time I’ve realized it’s a habitual career for many of them and it hurts me more to know that many of them lie about the sweet tales they tell. So even before this guy opened his mouth to ask me of what I assumed would be money, I had made up my mind that no money would depart out of my pocket that morning. His requisition would however surprise me.
“Oga, please can you buy me food? I’m not asking you to give me money, just buy me anything so I can eat. I am very hungry.”
I was touched. I thought he wanted to ask for money. I figured he must be genuinely hungry to make such a requisition to a total stranger. I was touched. I moved closer to the woman selling gala and decided to buy one gala for him. I eventually changed my mind and bought 2 gala sausage rolls for him because I was touched. He appreciated it with the usual “God bless you” gestures and I subsequently stepped away just a few feet (about 7 feet) from the gala seller. What he did next blew my mind out of the waters.
I watched him with all curiosity to see the level of vigor he would use to eat with haste the gala I just bought him. Eating it he eventually did not do. Instead, he went back to the woman selling gala and bought a ribena drink to help accompany the lonely gala down his starving system. That wasn’t the surprise.
What surprised me was when I saw him walk to a small kiosk behind the woman selling gala. I watched him as he took the gala and ribena and kept it into one of 2 big bags that was obviously filled with different food stuffs. Apparently other people had been buying him food and it looked as if he had gathered enough food stuff that will literally fill up a hungry man for at least 10 days.
I was shocked. I was angry. I felt duped. I felt like going back to ask him to return the 2 gala that I gave him because I felt he deceived me. I held my peace, stood and watched him for a few more seconds and then I was touched.
I realized that it was still a poverty mentality that made him come up with such a strategy. I realized that he had also witnessed the fact that not many people were probably as quick to dash beggars money in this season as compared to previous times. His economy had been drastically affected by the supposed-recession that has hit the country and he decided it was paramount that he change strategy if he must survive in this economy, especially if he wasn’t going to leave what he considered to be his passionate career of BEGGARpreneurship.
And then the revelation hit me. This beggar in his late thirties had to creatively change strategy if he was to survive in this times. As much as his mindset isn’t what I approve of, the idea behind his strategy is something to be emulated. If we as entrepreneurs, individuals & business owners must survive in these times, we must consider adopting new divinely-inspired strategies that will help stand us out of the crowd and make us question whether or not there’s really a recession going on in the economy.
My eyes still fixated on the beggar as he tried to arrange his spoils to fit perfectly into the 2 nylon bags that was now filled with goodies, I smiled. I watched him as he moved unto his next “client” and watched how the client yielded compassionately the same way I did. I was touched. I smiled. And then I silently prayed for wisdom for Seun Akisanmi to be creative enough to attract more clients in times like this more than ever before. May God help me. May God help us all.