Begging Tradition: Hustlers Control the Business and Silence of Churches

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I walked on the side of Medhanialem Church with my friends. It was getting darker and the street lights were on. As always, there are so many beggars sit surround the church as they seem guarding it. As the old tradition goes those beggars are there to get food and money – if possible shelter.

A young man, fairly mid twenty who has healthy hands like me and probably his eyes look better than mine, started to follow us. Two of my friends, happen to be foreigners (I already hate to mention this, because of the amount of attention they already got just because of their skin color) are walking in front of me. My other friend is in my left side. The guy started to talk to me. In his own words “Yarada lij, temechut beyachew.” He is Referring to my friends that I should do the brokers job for him to get free money. I had to look up to him. I mean, everyone does this if a person follows up more than 100 meters. Am I wrong?

I didn’t say hello back. He started the conversation with the word “smartass” anyway. He kept talking, he told me stories after stories how the police burn his cloths; how he doesn’t have anything to eat (Look at him). I told him, dude, maybe it is time to start working. He started. But he only started to insult me. He insulted me too much that I couldn’t bear to walk. I stopped. I didn’t want to fight with him. He was fed enough, I couldn’t stand him.

I was asking many questions afterwards, I know some of them won’t even please some of my readers. I cannot conclude anything in this piece of blog post. But this begging tradition is deeper than what an ordinary person can imagine. From a group of people, who should beg to save themselves from epilepsy to how the church was being such a good excuse for beggars not to work. With 365 days off, dedicating all days for saints, the church could only make their name easier for beggars to call them repeatedly. Or the people who go to church and look at these people feel good about themselves. However, the number of beggars is dramatically increasing.

I wanted to be proved wrong, but I encountered many times I see people give 5 cents for 10 beggars each in row. Great, they have got a blessing to go to heaven from 10 people – Smartass. I wonder if the beggars’ prayer didn’t bring them out of begging, how come it will help me to go to heaven?

The churches should create a new work culture among the followers. The priests start to motivate people to work – man, it is win-win. More people work, more money for the church. Simple math. The church has the power to organize and mobilize communities. If a person is sensitive about his belief, that already takes him extra miles. It is religion’s marketing strategy; A great opportunity too. If the churches set-up different humanitarian centers, those 5 cents will help a lot of them later on. The centers will serve as shelters, beggars don’t sleep on the gate of a church anymore – they will go inside. The beauty of the churches can simply attract tourists. The centers will be benefited from the revenue. Once there is food security for the beggars, health care continues. Having them in centers make it possible to help, monitor and raise more funds.

This is 21st century for God’s sake. If you really mean it to be the house of God, make it, not the house of beggars.


  1. sirarmany · May 30, 2011

    so at last starting to blog on Mondays with inspiration and strong point of view that would make a lot of people’s hair electrify. So another best blog would come next Monday hopefully.

    • eweket · May 30, 2011

      This is something i should worry about it. I should stop writing blogs on Mondays 😉 And for now, you paid me back for my efforts. Thanks for your kind comment

  2. Mehari · May 30, 2011

    That is very true and the solution is very simple. Stop giving money!
    The whole begging thing has become an industry. It has its own value chain and there are a lot of parties involved. There are people who prepare and sell full begging costumes. There are also groups who train newbies on how and where to beg. It even goes to the level where some rents out kids on daily basis.
    Well you may wonder why all these parties. The answer is simple because it pays off. Believe it or not beggars make more money than small street vendors, shoe shining boys and low level public employees.
    So why should beggars consider working while they can earn more money being self employed and without paying any tax.
    Any education or any preaching from churches will not change that. If we want to stop begging we should stop giving. Every five and ten cents we through doesn’t only sustain the begging industry but it also discourages those that are engaged in subsistent small businesses.
    Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that we shouldn’t help each other but in my opinion giving to beggars doesn’t count as a help. We are rather making sure that the person that takes our coin today will also wait for us tomorrow there. If we think about it there are so many other ways we can help people.

    • eweket · May 31, 2011

      Mehair, I can’t say more!! i definitely agree with you. I see the point from the other direction for people actually give money for religion values not really with the intention of helping. That’s why even people who don’t have money for themselves give for beggars. This chain should be broken. thanks again for your kind comment.

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