The Value Of A Dinar In Winter

الخميس 24 كانون الثاني 2008

Written By: Ola Eliwat

“This weather loves hot chocolate with marshmallows!” That was the message I sent my friend as I sat in the car waiting for my father, cuddled up in the warmest clothes I have and yet feeling my feet freezing.

Drifted away in thoughts, I was brought back to reality by the sight of a little boy, around 9 or 10, approaching a woman who was getting in to her car. The woman reached out to her purse and gave him some coins, although I didn’t see him begging. Obviously, he didn’t need to. He was wearing a jersey with no jacket on, the kind of attire that won’t make you warm enough for an average winter day. The jersey was soaked in the chilly melting ice, the sleeves pulled over his hands, his lips quivering and his eyes drooping in the cold.

I thought after the woman gave him the money he would come and tap on my window, and how much I hated that thought! But to my surprise, he just crossed the street and stood with his back to some car. I don’t know what he could’ve been waiting for. After a moment’s hesitation, I opened the car’s door and waved him over. He scurried to the car and came to a stop within a few feet from me.

I asked him what he was doing out there in this cold weather, but he didn’t answer me, or maybe he did but I was too appalled by his cold-stricken appearance to hear it. Then, I asked him how much he has to earn to be able to go home. He said, and these are his exact words: “They take 1JD”. I offered him a deal, that if I gave him the money he would go home, to which he gave a nod of consent, his lips still quivering and his eyes having a certain look of desperation, the only thing I could read in his frozen features. Before he stormed off, I asked him if I could take a picture of him. After he was gone, it occurred to me that I didn’t ask him about his name, his parents or who on Earth were those “They” he referred to, and I felt a stormy feeling of guilt for asking to take his picture and how that could’ve made him feel.

One dinar. One frozen, rain soaked dinar.

I’m not good, I’m not a hero. I bought marshmallows for 2JD’s and this little boy needed only 1JD to go home. A home that probably is not much warmer than the streets he was roaming. A home that he obviously needed to leave in order to collect 1JD.

One bloody, precious dinar.