It was raining really hard this afternoon. I was walking on the sidewalk of the southern part of Cihampelas road holding tightly to the red umbrella I borrowed from the office. I don’t hate rain. I hate rapid weather change. The days had been so hot for a week until two days ago. Having said that, these couple of days were actually hot just like the days before. But in the afternoon, they were raining all of a sudden. They took just a few minutes from small drops to heavy rain.
On that sidewalk with stream of water creeping through my shoes, I saw a beggar standing on the porch a small store that was already closed for the day. He was taking shelter from the rain while in the same time reaching his hand out holding a half full bottle of water. I only needed to pay a small attention to realize that man was collecting the water from the raindrops.
Funny thing, the first thought came to my mind was that if I had been him I would have had put a paper or plastic funnel on top of the bottle. That way I could gather a lot of water in less amount of time in contrast of what the man had done waiting for drop by drop to come down inside his bottle. I do have some conscience, it’s just my habit, thinking something that is not in the right place.
The next thing came into my mind was obviously a great empathy. Clean water is treasure for some of us. I have seen people washed their clothes or even their body in dirty gutters next to crowded streets. And this man might be no different from the rest. I walked past him. After few steps, I stood for a while. I recalled that I had a small water bottle hanging on my bag’s belt. I was thinking whether I should give him or not. What should I say to him? What if he collected water not for drink but for something else? Is my water enough for him? Should I give my drinking water even though the rainwater was clean enough for drink?
It has always been weird for me to give something to a less fortunate people when they are not asking for it. This man was only collecting the raindrops and there I was taking a very long time just to think whether I should give him water or not. Finally I decided that whatever the outcome of my next actions would be, it was the thought that really mattered. I remembered that there was a convenience store not very far from there. It was near yet it was a hard path due to the flooded slippery road and the numerous passing vehicles.
I spent some time to buy four bottles of water. When I was about to cross the street, I tried to take a look at where the man was.
I know it happens to most of young people including me. Because we are still young and don’t have money, we promise that we will for sure give some of our money to the less fortunate in the future when we already have a lot. But I keep asking to myself, what if we will never have the chance to do it. In each passing days, for sure we will have more many than the day before. But we also will have more needs. What if one time we pass the chance, and the chance will be there in front of us until it vanishes just before we are ready to take the action. At the moment, I knew I would feel a great regret if the man already vanished from where he was. I could have given him my small bottle of water but I waited long moment to buy a lot more water for him. He might have finished filling his bottle and went away to take a better shelter.
Fortunately, he was still there. Should he use a funnel, he would have filled his bottle and be long gone before I reached the other side of the street. Fortunate for me I didn’t have to go through a guilty feeling. Fortunate for him, he would get a lot more water than the one in the bottle he was holding. I came to him and with a bit of hesitation I asked him.
“Sir, is that for drink?”, I pointed to the bottle on his hand. He nodded with startled reaction drawn on his face.
“Sir, you can drink these”, I offered a plastic bag with four bottles of water inside. It had to have been very weird for him to receive those things from a strange just as for me to give those for a stranger without him asking first.
He picked the pink plastic bag from my hand and placed it somewhere on the floor close to the door of the small shop. I figured that it had to be the place where he would spend the night. He then continued what he was doing, gathering the raindrops from the roof into his nearly-full bottle.
I was slightly puzzled inside my heart when he did that. Sir, you now have a lot more of water than what you had five minutes ago. It maybe you are just a simple man, or you are trying to save more water for the uncertain tomorrow, or maybe you just want to finish what you have started. Any way, I hope you have enough water for days now. When I’m in the neighborhood again, I may see how you have been doing given you won’t be wondering somewhere else.
I turned around from the man. I walked away holding my umbrella more tightly for the wind was blowing harder than before. Everything under my knees; my jeans, my shoes, and my socks are completely soaked. It was wet and cold on the outside but I felt really great inside.