What can you buy for $1.99?
In Marghita $1.99 exchanges to 6.99RON.
It was literally all I had on me this afternoon when I ran into 2 little kids begging. It was a brother and sister. The brother’s name is David an d I have forgotten the sister’s name for the moment. They’re pretty young…probably about 6 and 7, the sister being the eldest. They were wearing multiple layers of dirty clothes with dirty hair sticking out from their hats.
I love these kids. Everytime I see them I think…I love these kids.
I was with another friend, who spoke Hungarian, who also talks to these kids a lot. They asked her what time it was and when she told him they immediately looked extremely worried. See, it was 3:30pm and the children hadn’t met the requirement yet for begging money that their Mom set for them earlier in the day. Early that morning she sent them to Marghita, by themselves, with just a mental shopping list.
Apparently she needed the children to beg for the money to buy these items and return home by a certain time (almost 4 miles away) so she could make soup with them for supper.
The day had been successful for them food-wise…someone had already given to them 2 bananas and a half bag of pretzels. Pretty exciting! But once they heard the time they were visibly stressed out as they discussed in hushed voices in Hungarian…3:30pm was too close to when they were supposed to be back home and they didn’t have enough money yet to get what they needed.
The kids were actually in a store (Kodak) when I saw them today. They had already left while I waited for my photos. The pictures cost 2 Lei which left me 7 Lei in my wallet. I walked across the street from Kodak to the small grocery store. The kids were there begging for money but they didn’t see me walk inside. I told God, I only have 7 Lei – You have got to make this work. I found the beans (canned yellow beans), found the bullion and then I grabbed a bag of Malai. Malai is cornmeal and Romanians eat this a lot. You basically make corn meal mush out of it and milk, then sprinkle salty cow’s cheese (Telemea) over it and sour cream. But, poor people can make this with just hot water and a little salt and it’s something warm and filling to eat.
I went up the register and the total came to 6.99 Lei. Thank YOU Lord! Heading outside the kids were nowhere to be seen. Dang it, where are they? Two seconds later they came tumbling out of the store next to where I stood with huge, and I mean HUGE, bags of garbage in their hands. I think the store owner was paying them to take the trash to the dumpster. That made me really happy to not only see someone else in Marghita helping them, but that the children were willing to work for it instead of just beg! I showed them what I had bought and asked them if this was what their Mama wanted. They seemed confused, I’m not sure why. Perhaps I bought the wrong type of beans? Regardless, I think their Mama should be happy anyway with what they are bringing home. I told them that Jesus loved them and then left.
I’m praying that the $1.99 I spent today will appease their Mother tonight. That it will have bought what those precious kids were ordered to bring home tonight. And, that, maybe that Mom will have some extra patience on her children and treat them just as that for this night. That they will go to sleep wrapped in Jesus’ arms with their tummies full of bean soup and mamaliga.