Working for the past three years to bring fresh insight and new hope to end poverty and global challenges has been a quest for which I am proud. Together with my co-author, Todd Love Ball, Jr., we have written a ground breaking book that will ask each of us to take a longer look in the mirror and examine our soul with more questions. Seeing a social phenomenon occurring in the bush of Kenya in 2013, I first noticed a body language and expression in people we passed on the road.
Some waved at us joyfully while others begged desperately.
While it wasn’t apparent at first, as I began to think about the meaning of these two gestures and the request they implied, I also recognized the response to them was an opportunity for connection. In both cases, the waver and the beggar were asking for something. But one had more obvious needs while the other had different ones. To anyone it seems apparent a beggar holding a cupped hand out with a desperate plea, is asking to receive money, food, or something he needs. The cup of the hand is a collecting point like a bowl to receive the gift and hold on to it. While a waver, waves his hands above his head and usually offers a smile and doesn’t usually beg for something in return.
Both men along the side of the road are communicating a message. One has a need the other has a gift to give. The beggar has a need and the waver has a gift, his smile and welcome to his community. However, encapsulated into that simple recognition of need and gift, if we examine humanity, we can recognize these two gestures are telling us something further about what has happened in the lives of these two men.
The man, forced to beg, without options for survival other than to depend on the kindness of a stranger’s handout has tragically fallen into a dark place that it does not seem was ever intended by a God who loves His creation, man. While the man waving alongside the road does not have to beg; because his value and ability to still thrive are manifesting through his labor and blessing. The waver desires to be in active exchange with you and I and we wave back at him. The beggar asks something from us and has little to give back in return. One has value still! The other has little or no value!
Now this is not to say that a man who is begging has no value in reality. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t see his value and he has not been able to express his value, his gifts, and be needed in a meaningful way that was intended for his birth. You see God doesn’t make anything faulty in His creation. Still, our world with it’s challenges and broken understanding of what it means to be human and love our neighbors is standing in the way of the perfection. What we espouse in our book Wavers & Beggars is that every man/woman has a purpose and we are born into this world as waver. We are born to see the world and be seen. We are born to wave at others and to have them wave back at us because we feel valued and our basic needs for survival are met. But the fall to poverty and the desperate circumstances that are often evident in some lives tugs that waving hand like a 1000 lb anchor down 3 feet and then turns it up with a cupped hand. The 1000 lb weight is the lack of opportunity that exists for far too many around the world. Couple this lack of opportunity with the greed and misunderstanding about what it all means to be human and love our neighbors as ourselves and we can understand the seeds of poverty.
Wavers & Beggars is a fresh insight and new look at many problems in the world and helps to teach how we are more connected than we realize.