Peceli's posting about the street kids in Suva reminds me of the last time I walked around Suva streets and Peceli just stopped and talked to these young men in Victoria Parade and from that time on, anytime I walked that way, they'd call out to me as the talatala's missus, want to polish my cream sandals with their black polish! I wasn't really comfortable because they are large fellows.
Probably a lot of people are a bit frightened of these kind of street kids and when I did a Google search I found many different attitudes to them - 'get 'em off the streets, send 'em back home to the village!' 'Let's pray for them, these lost kids!' 'Listen to their stories. They all have stories!", the moral danger of their lifestyle, and of course I found two academic papers on them in typical dense multi-syllabic language!
Anyway, the shoe-polish guys do work. But there are also street beggars in Suva and perhaps many of them are people with mental disabilities. The Indian woman I described in the fictional piece I posted is very real and I was appalled to see that little girl sitting on the cement clutching her mother's black handbag outside the Curry House.
One time when Peceli had a bag full of nice shirts and men's jackets(secondhand but very nice) to give to a relative, we were walking near the Westpac Bank and saw a middleaged Fijian man begging. Impulsively I opened Peceli's bag and took out a navy jacket, very smart with silver buttons, and gave it to the man, draped it over his shoulders. He didn't say a word as we moved on. I wonder what he did with it.