By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/4/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Kianna made her way to the marketplace, walking unpaved, dirt roads. It would be here she would spend the day panhandling for coins in order to buy food for her brothers and ailing mother. She had taken to stealing bits of food from stalls recently, but she knew that this was wrong. If she was to be caught, angry shopkeepers would beat her as an example to all the other street urchins. Kianna reached the main part of the street, and saw lots of familiar faces - there were untold other children just like her, all vying for the same limited amount of money doled out by shoppers.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kianna saw longtime friend Annapurna, another 12-year-old girl who begged the marketplace. Annapurna carried a bag and had a bright, sunny smile on her face.
"Hi, Kianna, you look thirsty, look at what I got," Annapurna said. She opened her bag to reveal cans of soda. "This was being taken into the store when the stock people took a break. I grabbed what I could. I took much more than I could carry, so have one!'
Learn how you can help children like Kianna -- by going here --
Kianna grabbed a can of soda. The can was lukewarm, but would be a delightful change of pace from the water she had to drink from a spigot found in a wall. Peeling back the lid, Kianna gulped down the sweet, carbonated liquid thirstily. She drank too fast and almost had some of the soda shoot from her nose, but stopped in time.
Annapurna laughed. "Take it easy! I have more! Don't worry about it." Once Kianna had gulped the soda down in three gulps flat, Annapurna offered her another can.
"Thanks!" Kianna said, drinking the second can of soda slowly and more assuredly. "I don't know when the last time I had a drink of that."
"Yes, this sort of thing doesn't happen every day! Enjoy!' Annapurna said. "Have any luck today?"
"NO," Kianna said. "I just got here. A lot of the shoppers here don't have money to spare these days."
"True, true," Annapurna said. "Tell you what. If I find any 'soft' customers, I'll send them you way!"
"Thanks again," Kianna said, skipping down the street. "I'll be sure to repay you for that soda!"
"Take care," Annapurna called back.
Looking across the hot, dusty marketplace - a handful of shops and open air carts, business was slower than usual. It was still a few hours away from noontime, when housewives would begin to jam the streets with their baskets.
Kianna's mind began to drift - to happier days when her mother was well - when her father was working, and more importantly in the home - when she and her brothers attended school, too briefly - when she heard the familiar whirr of an approaching car.
Kianna looked up to see a beautiful black American made automobile in the street, untouched by dust and the beating sun. A shining blue color, the car pulled up stealthily to where Kianna was on the sidewalk. There was the complimentary whirr of an automatic window rolling down. Crisp, air conditioned breezes brushed against Kianna's dirty face, dispelling the harsh, stale atmosphere of the marketplace.
Kianna looked into the eyes of the man who would change her life forever. Black, deep-set eyes without the slightest trace of humanity.
"Hello. Why don't you come inside for a ride?" came the voice.
To be continued --
You can read Kianna's story Part 1 -- which begins here --
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