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A special meal, but an even more important lesson

Kma's picture

     There’s a restaurant in El Paso called “Delicious” that over the generations has become a family tradition. When aunts and uncles who live out of town, and even when I go home for breaks, it is always a must to eat there. The event that took place I would like to discuss in this post happened right outside of this place, our favorite restaurant. When I was in third grade, an elderly lady began appearing outside the building, and would beg. Each time my parents and I went, there she was. It didn’t matter the time of day, how hot or cold it was… it seemed like she was always there. My mom would always give her a little something, and one visit when I was in high school, another lady saw my mom give her money and she muttered, “how disgusting!” Now, I’m not sure if she was referring to my mom giving her money, or to the woman herself, but no matter how she meant it was and is equally haunting to me.

     How high above humanity did this woman feel that she found this poor old woman so revolting that the idea of somebody helping her made her laugh and scoff? This raised questions about socioeconomic class and culture for me. As for questions about culture, how did this woman end up in the predicament she did? In the Hispanic culture, it is highly important to take care of family, especially parents and the elderly, so what happened to her family? Did she not have any? Did they lose contact? What made her have to beg for a living outside of a Mexican eatery? Seeing this woman, and other homeless people in El Paso made me question the “powers” we have in this country. How can we be so powerful and mighty, yet we have citizens that don’t have a roof over their head or food to eat? The socioeconomic disparity is clearly evident in Texas, and all over this country. Additionally, the majority of the homeless population in El Paso is Hispanic, and so the cultural impact speaks for itself. I didn’t know the answers to these questions then, and I honestly still don’t know them. For a country as diverse and accepting as we brag to be, I feel like we are selective in whom we want to help. I can only hope that this changes so people in this woman’s situation have more outlets to turn to than begging and the uncertainty of their situations.