2 kina dilemma

Getting off my motorcycle at Divine Word University, a group of 5 boys around 12 years old surrounded me. The bold one asked, “Please, two kina?” I get asked this question about twice a month and I still don’t know what to do. While there are some “street kids” in the cities, the majority of kids are taken care of and well fed. In this case, the boys were in school. They had someone who looked after them and paid their school fees. “What are you going to do with the money?” I asked them. “Buy biscuits,” they said. “Do you ever give to others?” I asked them. They very quickly assured me they were the most generous type. So what should I do? I could shame them, but that seems harsh and wouldn’t change actions. I could ignore them, but that’s rude. I could try to talk to them, but what could I share that would inspire change? I could give them the two kina, but to teach a person to beg instead of work will have long lasting negative effects.
It’s not that I want to keep all the money for myself. I choose to live simply so that I can give as much as I can to help others. The characteristics of generosity and helping others are deeply ingrained in our family. I just don’t think giving money freely is best for those who receive it or the best use of resources.
In the end, I explained that I do give money, but I give it for specific purposes. I left to attend to my business and when I returned to my bike, they were still there. “We watched your bike,” they informed me in a hardly veiled last plea for two kina. I smiled and said thank you, fastened my helmet and left. Thinking that nothing I said had changed anything, a feeling of futility washed over me. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I am asked again and I’m still unsure of what would be best to do. What would you do?


  1. Thank you for bringing attention to this challenge that is ever before us. Jesus commands us to give to those who are in need. I like your answer that you give to specific purposes. But you are right – the challenge is still how to bring change to those who beg. There is no easy answer.

    You began a conversation with them. I wonder if that conversation can be continued in the future? I know all of us are usually overbooked and running crazy with schedules. But I look at Jesus’ ministry and see that many of his encounters happened “on the way to” and wonder if we need to find a way to ‘slow down’ enough to have those conversations with people. Because we don’t walk from place to place like Jesus did, it is more difficult. But can we take and hour here or there to have a conversation that has more depth to it? Can we build time into our day to spend with those who need to hear God’s plan for their lives? Can we learn how to begin and end these conversations?

    I fear in our Facebook/Texting age, we struggle more and more with real, meaningful conversations. Yet, I believe that it is in these conversations in life that change occurs – in me and in those I am conversing with.

    I pray for God’s wisdom and knowledge daily in your life and in the lives of each of us who want to know how to reach out to those God places in our paths when we are ‘on the way to’ our next scheduled activity.

    • I agree that change will most likely come when there is a relationship – and that takes time. It is especially true in this culture where time is not very important but relationships mean everything. I have often found myself struggling to express myself in meaningful ways. But as I take the time to engage in conversation I learn how to converse better. The important part is that I take the time to get to know them and their struggles and they get to know me and my struggles. This is why it often takes me two hours longer to go to the store than it should! In these situations I have to ask myself if my activities will have more long term impact than interacting with the people at hand. I find the answer is often “no”.

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