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Diasporic Gods

A young boy, about 11, approached Cyndie. His right palm was raised upwards towards her. His left palm clutched tightly to the bottle of glue like a hymnal before prayer.

"I'm sorry sweetie, I don't have any money. Would you like my soda?" asked Cyndie to the boy, holding out the bottle of orange carbonated drink. The boy didn't speak, he simply nodded his head slowly. In one swift motion, he grabbed the soda, untwisted the cap and gulped deeply.

This soda must have been the batman call because seconds later, we were surrounded by boys. All boys. Around ages 8-12. All of them, reaching upwards toward us. Rust colored hands from months of not being able to wash, stretched towards us, pleading, silently. For a moment, we were their diasporic gods, their jesus, allah, buddah, oshun, anything that could change their life in an instant. Their hands swayed in the air in worship and drug indulgence. They needed from us.

I've never known real need until I watched a 6 year old, abandoned, high from glue, empty bellied from poverty, beg me - a pauper in my own country, for money. I've never known true hunger until I saw prayer in his eyes. His eyes were brown, sepia where white should be, and completely devoid of hope. I've never known depression until I saw a starving 6 year old boy.

Story by:

Camari Carter

27 February 2018