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Was I conned or what?

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
#1
Somewhere between Herrerias and O Cebreiro the other day I was approached by a young couple who said they were Hungarian pilgrims returning from Santiago and could I help them.
I gave them 5 Euros thinking I'd rather be the victim of a con than deny someone who needed help because I suspected I was being duped.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#5
Hi Stephen, you did the right thing. Better to have a good heart than be cynical in your dealings with people. Unfortunately I do not always take my own counsel. A peregrina I met on the Camino Portuguese this year sent an email to say that after we parted in SdC she had met someone there who had lost his bank card and was unable to access his money. He didn't ask but she offered to loan him 50 euros and gave him her address so that he could return the money when he got things sorted. I confess to thinking when I read this, 'oh you will not see that money again.' I was wrong, he got back to her and repaid the money. Her warm open heartedness and trust stands as a rebuke to my suspicions. Good to be cautious though if the circumstances warrant it. I think the old expression used in the Brierley book and, by several people on this forum, 'Trust in God, but tether your camel.'
 

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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#6
You did the right thing. And in the end, you didn't sell your grandmother to do this, you gave them an amount of money you could afford to give. Buen Camino, SY
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#7
Honestly, you probably got scammed, but if it doesn't bother you, then so what?
If it does bother you, I would say don't do it again and move on. Look at it as a cheap lesson learned.
If you look at the specific instance that the OP is talking about, it's obvious the couple was just panhandling. If one lived in such an economic situation that one has to beg, why would one walk the Camino in the first place knowing full well one cannot afford to do so? Now whether they were headed home to Hungary or just bumming around the Camino, who knows. Are they buying food and shelter with your money, or tobacco and wine? Who knows?
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#10
I gave them 5 Euros thinking I'd rather be the victim of a con than deny someone who needed help because I suspected I was being duped.
I did the same with the first request from the deaf/dumb solicitors for the same reason. The second time I said something that got me a very vocal response that definitely indicated that I was the target of a scam.
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#11
Somewhere between Herrerias and O Cebreiro the other day I was approached by a young couple who said they were Hungarian pilgrims returning from Santiago and could I help them.
I gave them 5 Euros thinking I'd rather be the victim of a con than deny someone who needed help because I suspected I was being duped.
Hello Stephen, You bring up a topic that perplexes most of us and almost everyone will face this dilemma at some point or even often given where we might live. None of us likes to be scammed or feel that we have been taken advantage of.

Some things that I have tried to do to insure that I assist people in need while avoiding the potential con artists that abound in the world. First, I never give more than I can afford. Second, I try to understand what they need - if they need food and I have the time I buy them food and talk with them as a show of respect and kindness; if they need something else I can afford I buy it and give it to them. If I don't have the time I just give them the money and move on. Third, in my home town I donate to local charities that assist the poor and those in need. I will give them a card directing them to that charity and let them know they will assist them more fully. Fourth, if I don't feel good - that sense that something is not right - I apologize and say no. However, I try to err on the side of caution with my focus on never knowing who I might be able to assist.

Those that come from a Christian background will often recall the sweet response of the King, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." For those who are not Christian there is wisdom in assisting first and doubting second.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#12
I gave a German man in Porto claiming to have been robbed 10€, just like you, prefering to give what I could go,without than wondering if I should have helped.

At home, so I never wonder if I have been conned, I give an annual donation to a food bank and a homeless shelter. That way I am at peCe with myself even if I don't give at each intersection...
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#14
Most folks have seen true poverty or met others that for one reason or another gotten into a rough spot. So we make the choice. It isn't true every time but there is enough honest need to make us at least consider our response. I think the hardest situation I have experienced was a village of children with bloated bellies & starving, We left every bit of food we could & had to push forward. Sometimes it is simply not enough.

So in my opinion you did what you could. I would bet they are still breathing.
 
N

nathanael

Guest
#15
Hi Stephen, you did the right thing. Better to have a good heart than be cynical in your dealings with people. Unfortunately I do not always take my own counsel. A peregrina I met on the Camino Portuguese this year sent an email to say that after we parted in SdC she had met someone there who had lost his bank card and was unable to access his money. He didn't ask but she offered to loan him 50 euros and gave him her address so that he could return the money when he got things sorted. I confess to thinking when I read this, 'oh you will not see that money again.' I was wrong, he got back to her and repaid the money. Her warm open heartedness and trust stands as a rebuke to my suspicions. Good to be cautious though if the circumstances warrant it. I think the old expression used in the Brierley book and, by several people on this forum, 'Trust in God, but tether your camel.'
don't whether you did the right thing or not? I would have told them no, because that;s the way I am and don't condone lying.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#16
If you gave money and expected something in return which you didn't get, then you were conned, but as that was not the case, you performed an act of kindness for the right reasons and that was a good thing. Don't even contemplate a con.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPdP to Santiago, May/June 2013
#18
If someone ask for money it is my decision to give or not but to take what you want without asking, no! In Astorga, also a Hungarian approached me when I walked right pass the albergue and look a bit lost and he offer to show me the albergue, but he was touching my arm and my backpack and make me feel uncomfortable and walked in circles with me and suddenly he disappeared between the people and then I realise my camera was gone. I am cross because it was my son's camera that he gave to me to bring home photo's of my Camino and now I have a few photo's that an American couple that I met on the Camino send me, but not one photo of something that was special to me.
 

bunnymac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2012 SJPP-Logrono, 2013 Logrono-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon
CF August/September 2016 SJPP- Santiago
#19
Somewhere between Herrerias and O Cebreiro the other day I was approached by a young couple who said they were Hungarian pilgrims returning from Santiago and could I help them.
I gave them 5 Euros thinking I'd rather be the victim of a con than deny someone who needed help because I suspected I was being duped.
I think you did the right thing. You went with your gut, and it was only a fiver. PS Did anyone ever tell you you're the image of Samuel Beckett? :))))
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Primitivo
#20
If someone ask for money it is my decision to give or not but to take what you want without asking, no! In Astorga, also a Hungarian approached me when I walked right pass the albergue and look a bit lost and he offer to show me the albergue, but he was touching my arm and my backpack and make me feel uncomfortable and walked in circles with me and suddenly he disappeared between the people and then I realise my camera was gone. I am cross because it was my son's camera that he gave to me to bring home photo's of my Camino and now I have a few photo's that an American couple that I met on the Camino send me, but not one photo of something that was special to me.
I am so sorry to hear this, Johein! Theft is such a bad crime. I hope, you reported it to the police. If there is anything specific, you miss a photo of, please tell us. I am sure, we would all like to mail you photoes. I know it is not the same as your own photoes, but maybe better than nothing.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#21
If someone ask for money it is my decision to give or not but to take what you want without asking, no! In Astorga, also a Hungarian approached me when I walked right pass the albergue and look a bit lost and he offer to show me the albergue, but he was touching my arm and my backpack and make me feel uncomfortable and walked in circles with me and suddenly he disappeared between the people and then I realise my camera was gone. I am cross because it was my son's camera that he gave to me to bring home photo's of my Camino and now I have a few photo's that an American couple that I met on the Camino send me, but not one photo of something that was special to me.
Very sorry that happened to you. Nobody deserves to have something so negative happen to them.
Those criminals pick and choose their victims. They see a woman walking alone as more vulnerable so they tend to target them. On a couple of instances while walking the Camino I've had panhandlers approach me, but they never got too close and quickly turn away when I wave them off and shake my head. Maybe I'm wrong for taking the high road on that, and lumping everyone that does that as a potential crook, but I need my wallet, passport and money more than they do, especially when walking across Spain.
My best advice to anyone is to not allow the panhandler, or any stranger you meet on the Camino, anywhere on the Camino, close the distance and get in your personal space, and certainly not touch you. They are experienced pickpockets and very good at removing objects off your body.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#22
I don't give to obviously professional beggars, and I just hold my hand up palm out when the dumb scammers approach. I never let strangers get close to me or touch me - I instantly take two steps backwards and stare them in the eyes. But then this almost never happens to me as I am never dripping with stealable items such as cameras in full view nor do I wear designer trekking clothes that absolutely Shout wealth.

But giving? Of course .... can you imagine, were you suddenly destitute how you would explain to someone that you were honest and truly in need? Difficult I should think .. so I tend to give a few Euros - I can't be conned as I choose freely, and if yours were financing their way home by begging - well, they still needed the money whether honest or not, so I would have given too.

Interesting thing is that those who live with less money tend to be more generous than those who live with lots of money.

Stephen, whether they were genuine or not you did an Act of Good - so all is well.
 

Patch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago (June 2014)
St Jean to Leon (Sept 2015)
Burgos to Santiago (June 2016)
Porto to Finisterre (June 2017)
#23
personally, I never give cash. When I was in Jaca this June a lady and a dog were outside the supermarket I went in. I bought them both a good meal whilst getting my provisions - they were grateful. Just my take on it, I understand everyone is different.
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
#24
So many forum members use terms such as "conned" of "scammed"?
There are plenty of pilgrims on the Camino that have little or no money and are reduced to begging , what's the big deal? You can say yay or nay - the OP decided to give which I have done myself on more than one occasion. The couple would probably carry on asking until they had enough to see them through go the next day.
I once came across a pilgrim from Eastern Europe who was begging in the streets of Pamplona wearing a written plea for help around his neck.
It was 10pm - I drew €50 and gave it to him.
I told him to leave NOW before the Garde locked him up....... and get back on his Camino , he was genuinely aghast at his windfall. I was not to see his face for the rest of the week that I was in Pamplona. ......... Kinduv like to think that I helped and that he made it to Santiago.
.......... And another thing! If ever I am asked by another pilgrim for money , I will gladly give €5 or €10 if I have it to give ..... It will be MY pleasure to help.
I know this is a bit of a rant but really? (No disrespect to the OP) There will be some pilgrims that have the nice house, two cars , the pigeon pair in university , a great job with paid holiday , a tidy sum stashed away for a rainy day ,the two Labradors , the holiday cottage , designer shoe collection and their Rolexes .........
The times I have read members posts complaining about begging and coming out of their "ordeal" felling horrified ,molested ,scarred for life? ...... Are you kidding me!?
I think that there are some pilgrims that have lived a VERY sheltered opulent life or young and nieve.
Sorry!?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#25
So many forum members use terms such as "conned" of "scammed"
I agree that these terms are not quite right when it is clear that the victim/giver is well aware of the likelihood that the story is not 100% accurate. There is no real conning involved. On another thread, an association was made between private enterprise and "fleecing" of pilgrims, as if they were necessarily connected.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
England C2C 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Le Puy 2018
#26
It was a dark, late December afternoon in Florence, Italy. I was freezing and hurried across the cobblestones, looking forward to the warmth of my bed and breakfast near the Duomo. I rounded the Baptistry, head down and buried deep in my collar, avoiding the bitter wind. A sudden gust carried the strains of beautiful string music, crystal clear, lively and bright. I looked up to see a small man with a long salt and pepper beard, arched back with his violin, eyes closed, lips in a private smile. If one could see music, sparks would have flown from this musician's bow.

His balding head was bare and he played with fingerless gloves. His nondescript clothes were dark and looked like they had seen more than a few winter seasons. An open violin case was on the ground with a few euros inside. I had some extra coins but they were buried deep, zipped in an inner coat pocket and that meant unsheathing my hands and unzipping my coat in that unforgiving wind. So I just smiled at the violinist and hurried around the corner. I walked about a block before feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt. I turned back, half drawn by wanting to hear the beautiful music again and half embarrassed by my lack of generosity.

But he was gone. It was as if his music had never lit up the dark winter afternoon. There was no battered case to toss a couple of coins in, no musician to thank in my poorly accented Italian.

I think of that violinist often and since that day, I try to give a little something to those who look like they need it. At the end of European trips, I take all my coins and try to find the beggars sitting on the church steps or street corners. If someone needs to humble themselves enough to ask for help, it's not my place to judge, just to give a bit.

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
~Hebrews 13:2
 
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M

Mark Lee

Guest
#27
It was a dark, late December afternoon in Florence, Italy. I was freezing and hurried across the cobblestones, looking forward to the warmth of my bed and breakfast near the Duomo. I rounded the Baptistry, head down and buried deep in my collar, avoiding the bitter wind. A sudden gust carried the strains of beautiful string music, crystal clear, lively and bright. I looked up to see a small man with a long salt and pepper beard, arched back with his violin, eyes closed, lips in a private smile. If one could see music, sparks would have flown from this musician's bow.

His balding head was bare and he played with fingerless gloves. His nondescript clothes were dark and looked like they had seen more than a few winter seasons. An open violin case was on the ground with a few euros inside. I had some extra coins but they were buried deep, zipped in an inner coat pocket and that meant unsheathing my hands and unzipping my coat in that unforgiving wind. So I just smiled at the violinist and hurried around the corner. I walked about a block before feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt. I turned back, half drawn by wanting to hear the beautiful music again and half embarrassed by my lack of generosity.

But he was gone. It was as if his music had never lit up the dark winter afternoon. There was no battered case to toss a couple of coins in, no musician to thank in my poorly accented Italian.

I think of that violinist often and since that day, I try to give a little something to those who look like they need it. At the end of European trips, I take all my coins and try to find the beggars sitting on the church steps or street corners. If someone needs to humble themselves enough to ask for help, it's not my place to judge, just to give a bit.

"Be not forgetful to entertain stranger: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
~Hebrews 13:2
The violinist was hardly begging. He's working for his euros. "Singing for his supper", if you will. I always give to street musicians when I listen to their labor. They earn it.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#29
The violinist was hardly begging. He's working for his euros. "Singing for his supper", if you will. I always give to street musicians when I listen to their labor. They earn it.
then there was this:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/life...6d46da-4331-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html

also a good read re: expectations, humility, and gratitude

I'm not sure if I'm sad or happy that at the time of this experiment, I was stationed at Ft Meade so not yet making my metro transfer at L'Enfant.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#30
then there was this:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/life...6d46da-4331-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html

also a good read re: expectations, humility, and gratitude

I'm not sure if I'm sad or happy that at the time of this experiment, I was stationed at Ft Meade so not yet making my metro transfer at L'Enfant.
That's so cool.
What's the old expression? "Location, location, location". Those people just trying to get their butts to work on time and do the grind. We all been there. Sometimes there just ain't time to smell the roses. Well, I guess you could smell them, but someone else might be sitting at your desk one morning if you did it too much. :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#33
don't whether you did the right thing or not? I would have told them no, because that;s the way I am and don't condone lying.
Sometimes there is a thin line between " lying " and being too ashamed to tell others you are poor or in need of help. Being poor can make you so little and sometimes your dignity seems far away.

As a social worker I encounter a fair deal of poverty and let me tell you : when you see a mother that only eats one meal a day so she is able to buy her child the necessary school equipment you are so happy to know that this lady has a nice neighbour who gives her some extra leftovers from her casserole or takes the little girl swimming because mum cannot afford the entrance fee.

Hmm do not know where my ramblings lead to... ;) But I like to give because I know that there can be a thin line between have and have not. Once I could be at the receiving end and hopefully I would meet generous and warm people to help me...

I'm touched by most answers here because it shows that indeed the Camino is a good place with kindhearted poeple.
 

DenisH

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
27th August "2015"
#34
Somewhere between Herrerias and O Cebreiro the other day I was approached by a young couple who said they were Hungarian pilgrims returning from Santiago and could I help them.
I gave them 5 Euros thinking I'd rather be the victim of a con than deny someone who needed help because I suspected I was being duped.
Maybe. I noticed some "unusual " pilgrims coming into O Cebreiro in June that were very loud and had no bags. Later that evening all our clothes were robbed on the cloths line outside the hostel in the middle of O Cebreiro. That was the only bad experience on the whole Camino.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#35
It was a dark, late December afternoon in Florence, Italy. I was freezing and hurried across the cobblestones, looking forward to the warmth of my bed and breakfast near the Duomo. I rounded the Baptistry, head down and buried deep in my collar, avoiding the bitter wind. A sudden gust carried the strains of beautiful string music, crystal clear, lively and bright. I looked up to see a small man with a long salt and pepper beard, arched back with his violin, eyes closed, lips in a private smile. If one could see music, sparks would have flown from this musician's bow.

His balding head was bare and he played with fingerless gloves. His nondescript clothes were dark and looked like they had seen more than a few winter seasons. An open violin case was on the ground with a few euros inside. I had some extra coins but they were buried deep, zipped in an inner coat pocket and that meant unsheathing my hands and unzipping my coat in that unforgiving wind. So I just smiled at the violinist and hurried around the corner. I walked about a block before feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt. I turned back, half drawn by wanting to hear the beautiful music again and half embarrassed by my lack of generosity.

But he was gone. It was as if his music had never lit up the dark winter afternoon. There was no battered case to toss a couple of coins in, no musician to thank in my poorly accented Italian.

I think of that violinist often and since that day, I try to give a little something to those who look like they need it. At the end of European trips, I take all my coins and try to find the beggars sitting on the church steps or street corners. If someone needs to humble themselves enough to ask for help, it's not my place to judge, just to give a bit.

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
~Hebrews 13:2
A zillion likes! Buen Camino, SY
 

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
#36
I did the same with the first request from the deaf/dumb solicitors for the same reason. The second time I said something that got me a very vocal response that definitely indicated that I was the target of a scam.
I met those clipboard ladies just after Barbadelo today. I was still feeling very tired and emotionally drained, having not yet got back to some kind of equilibrium after my experience at the Iron Cross.
My two word reaction to the proffered clipboard must have left them in no doubt they'd encountered a very grumpy pilgrim.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#37
These 'ladies' are a ... since many years, don't feel guilty and well done you! Buen Camino de la Vida, SY
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#38
I met those clipboard ladies just after Barbadelo today. I was still feeling very tired and emotionally drained, having not yet got back to some kind of equilibrium after my experience at the Iron Cross.
My two word reaction to the proffered clipboard must have left them in no doubt they'd encountered a very grumpy pilgrim.
hoping you're soon rested and back in balance
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#40
Three years in a row I remember a guy of something 40-ish or so, with blond dreadlocks, sitting on the Rua da Acibecheria (in front of entrance to San Martin Pineiro ???) selling his story all over again. And every time I passed by there were at least three young (as I've heard mostly USA) girls. He's very sweet talker and gained a LOT of money out of it as I've seen him having a dinner in a not so cheap restaurant one evening. Made me smile every time I went by and wished him good luck in my mind. If that's the form of living he wants of course.

Although I know there are people that are invisible to us (they simply don't get out and beg) and really deserve help. I'm very sad because of that and it doesn't make me smile at all...
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#41
You need a story:

I was once sitting in a cafe in Merida (on the VdlP) having coffee (I stayed there for 4 days due to hurt feet), when an old widow came by, begging for some coins. I gave her nothing. As she left around the corner, I suddenly thought to myself "You must be the worst pilgrim in the world! Here you are sitting with more than enough money to walk across Spain, but you cannot afford some pocket money for a poor old woman!"

So I ran after her, but she was gone.

The next day I returned to the same cafe hoping she would return, and she did. I had her sit down and relax, ordered a cup of coffee for her, took my hat and collected coins from the rest of the guests there, together with my own pocket money. It became quite a few Euros. I received two of the sweetest kisses in my life on each cheek as she left.

Lesson learned: Give to those who need: You will most likely receive more than what you give, both inside yourself as well as in the exterior world. After meeting that old woman, I never pass by a needing person without giving some. She taught me a very strong lesson. "Give and you shall receive". I have enough to share a little for the less fortunate. If you are "conned", so be it: We all meet a..holes, but in the long run, you will win by sharing with those who really need. And they are quite easy to spot, aren't they?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Primitivo
#42
You need a story:

I was once sitting in a cafe in Merida (on the VdlP) having coffee (I stayed there for 4 days due to hurt feet), when an old widow came by, begging for some coins. I gave her nothing. As she left around the corner, I suddenly thought to myself "You must be the worst pilgrim in the world! Here you are sitting with more than enough money to walk across Spain, but you cannot afford some pocket money for a poor old woman!"

So I ran after her, but she was gone.

The next day I returned to the same cafe hoping she would return, and she did. I had her sit down and relax, ordered a cup of coffee for her, took my hat and collected coins from the rest of the guests there, together with my own pocket money. It became quite a few Euros. I received two of the sweetest kisses in my life on each cheek as she left.

Lesson learned: Give to those who need: You will most likely receive more than what you give, both inside yourself as well as in the exterior world. After meeting that old woman, I never pass by a needing person without giving some. She taught me a very strong lesson. "Give and you shall receive". I have enough to share a little for the less fortunate. If you are "conned", so be it: We all meet a..holes, but in the long run, you will win by sharing with those who really need. And they are quite easy to spot, aren't they?
Thank you, Alexwalker, this is beautiful :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#44
You need a story:

I was once sitting in a cafe in Merida (on the VdlP) having coffee (I stayed there for 4 days due to hurt feet), when an old widow came by, begging for some coins. I gave her nothing. As she left around the corner, I suddenly thought to myself "You must be the worst pilgrim in the world! Here you are sitting with more than enough money to walk across Spain, but you cannot afford some pocket money for a poor old woman!"

So I ran after her, but she was gone.

The next day I returned to the same cafe hoping she would return, and she did. I had her sit down and relax, ordered a cup of coffee for her, took my hat and collected coins from the rest of the guests there, together with my own pocket money. It became quite a few Euros. I received two of the sweetest kisses in my life on each cheek as she left.

Lesson learned: Give to those who need: You will most likely receive more than what you give, both inside yourself as well as in the exterior world. After meeting that old woman, I never pass by a needing person without giving some. She taught me a very strong lesson. "Give and you shall receive". I have enough to share a little for the less fortunate. If you are "conned", so be it: We all meet a..holes, but in the long run, you will win by sharing with those who really need. And they are quite easy to spot, aren't they?

winnie-the-pooh (574 x 600).jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela in December-January 2008/2009
Leon to Santiago de Compostela in September 2019
#45
Stephen,
Me an my son met them last week too and I gave them 40 EUR without hesitation but with the same feeling hat it was something odd going on. But refrained from asking questions. It will be between them and God.

/Mikael
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Way September 2016
#48
Hi Stephen, you did the right thing. Better to have a good heart than be cynical in your dealings with people. Unfortunately I do not always take my own counsel. A peregrina I met on the Camino Portuguese this year sent an email to say that after we parted in SdC she had met someone there who had lost his bank card and was unable to access his money. He didn't ask but she offered to loan him 50 euros and gave him her address so that he could return the money when he got things sorted. I confess to thinking when I read this, 'oh you will not see that money again.' I was wrong, he got back to her and repaid the money. Her warm open heartedness and trust stands as a rebuke to my suspicions. Good to be cautious though if the circumstances warrant it. I think the old expression used in the Brierley book and, by several people on this forum, 'Trust in God, but tether your camel.'
Some French pilgrims is gotten to know loaned me 20€ in Tubaies, where credit cards are not accepted and there are nobancos automatic is. I caught up with them two days later in pontevedra to repay them. Camino banking!
 

purplesage

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais, Finisterre and Muxia (2012) , Camino Portuguese 2014, Camino Inglese 2015, Camino Muxia 2015, Incomplete part of CF 2015 ... will hopefully finish later this year
#49
I don't give to "professional" beggars. Maybe once or twice... but not usually. And I've met over-friendly people as well and lost an Iphone in the process. I have often fallen short of funds myself.... waiting for bank transfers and so on... and at times such as these, people would actually invite me to a meal or some peculiar act of kindness. "If you give someone a cup of cold water, in My Name, you gave it to ME. The Lord himself said this. Go with your peace, give what you can, it will return to you. Buen Camino :), Caesar
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#50
All this being said, don't feel guilty if you DID give to someone with a sob story, but don't feel guilty if you didn't, either. While wanting to help people in need whenever I can, I also don't want to help build a sense that begging on the Camino is profitable.

I saw the blonde dreadlocked guy selling his story in Santiago, asking for others to support his "Caminos through Europe". He lives in a tent behind the school on the way out of town. It took me a long time, working hard, to save the money I needed to walk my camino. There are a lot of people in need in the world, and hiking around Europe doesn't sound like a big sacrifice to me. So give if and when you feel the need to, but be aware that there are a number of organizations you can support with your funds to help the poor, too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Start Camino Frances Sept 9 2015
Camino Frances Aug 22 2017
#51
Somewhere between Herrerias and O Cebreiro the other day I was approached by a young couple who said they were Hungarian pilgrims returning from Santiago and could I help them.
I gave them 5 Euros thinking I'd rather be the victim of a con than deny someone who needed help because I suspected I was being duped.
I had an issue with a family who said it was 5 euros for a lunch. They charged me 5.50 plus taxes? Taxes? I am pushing 60, female, American they had no business. I challenged them. They offered to pay me back. I declined and told them that when they next fed a pilgrim or, when they were accountable to God, they could answer the question
 

Georgina77

Vancouver Island in December
Camino(s) past & future
Future July 2015 hopefully......... did it awesome :)
#52
It was a dark, late December afternoon in Florence, Italy. I was freezing and hurried across the cobblestones, looking forward to the warmth of my bed and breakfast near the Duomo. I rounded the Baptistry, head down and buried deep in my collar, avoiding the bitter wind. A sudden gust carried the strains of beautiful string music, crystal clear, lively and bright. I looked up to see a small man with a long salt and pepper beard, arched back with his violin, eyes closed, lips in a private smile. If one could see music, sparks would have flown from this musician's bow.

His balding head was bare and he played with fingerless gloves. His nondescript clothes were dark and looked like they had seen more than a few winter seasons. An open violin case was on the ground with a few euros inside. I had some extra coins but they were buried deep, zipped in an inner coat pocket and that meant unsheathing my hands and unzipping my coat in that unforgiving wind. So I just smiled at the violinist and hurried around the corner. I walked about a block before feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt. I turned back, half drawn by wanting to hear the beautiful music again and half embarrassed by my lack of generosity.

But he was gone. It was as if his music had never lit up the dark winter afternoon. There was no battered case to toss a couple of coins in, no musician to thank in my poorly accented Italian.

I think of that violinist often and since that day, I try to give a little something to those who look like they need it. At the end of European trips, I take all my coins and try to find the beggars sitting on the church steps or street corners. If someone needs to humble themselves enough to ask for help, it's not my place to judge, just to give a bit.

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
~Hebrews 13:2
Wish more people thought as beautifully as you
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#53
I have two perspectives on this. The first is what do I do at home. I like the idea of giving non-monetary things. Gift certificates to a local fast food place or a card to a shelter that provides food and housing.

As a pilgrim, I will be a little more compassionate, but I will extract something for my generosity. If you are going to ask me, a pilgrim, for money, expect to pray with me before getting anything. I want you to be thinking about what you are asking and God at the same time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#54
It's the pilgrims coming back from Santiago that seem to be a common thread in situations such as these.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
England C2C 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Le Puy 2018
#55
Wish more people thought as beautifully as you
:oops: With lots of Calvinist guilt?

I was back in Florence in July for a few days and looked everywhere for The Violinist. He was nowhere to be found. If anyone is wandering the north side of the Duomo in early December and comes across him, let me know. Dinner is on me for both you and him!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
C Frances x 2 - 2016, 2017
C Portuguese x 2 2016, 2017
C Muxia/Finisterra x 2 2016, 17
CdM
#56
I consider myself very lucky in this life..... I am extremely healthy, have good homes and wonderful, beautiful adult children. I am sooooo grateful to life, and God (whoever He may be ) and I admire people who give their lives to others and God.

I usually give whenever I am asked or not asked, if I see the need is there, I offer. I think it takes great courage to ask and I admire that..... and I give whatever I can afford then. So, @Stephen , you did the right thing. I think it is always best to be kind than to be right. Like the others say, it is, ultimately, between them and God/Universe.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#57
All this being said, don't feel guilty if you DID give to someone with a sob story, but don't feel guilty if you didn't, either. While wanting to help people in need whenever I can, I also don't want to help build a sense that begging on the Camino is profitable.

I saw the blonde dreadlocked guy selling his story in Santiago, asking for others to support his "Caminos through Europe". He lives in a tent behind the school on the way out of town. It took me a long time, working hard, to save the money I needed to walk my camino. There are a lot of people in need in the world, and hiking around Europe doesn't sound like a big sacrifice to me. So give if and when you feel the need to, but be aware that there are a number of organizations you can support with your funds to help the poor, too.
Yeah, no way I'd give money to some young dude so that he can support his perpetual vacation. Get a job, bro. It ain't that bad.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#58
Somewhere between Herrerias and O Cebreiro the other day I was approached by a young couple who said they were Hungarian pilgrims returning from Santiago and could I help them.
I gave them 5 Euros thinking I'd rather be the victim of a con than deny someone who needed help because I suspected I was being duped.
I saw them about 4 weeks ago so they're making very slow progress. They had the air of a pilgrim about them and I chipped in - having been short of cash in the past so had some sympathy for them.

The "deaf" scammers however . . . are travelling around in a VW Golf. I think two teams of two girls with a male driver and they don't appear to be as deaf when they think there's nobody watching them. Saw them swapping teams somewhere west of Portomarin.

I tend to be sceptical when the "beggar" is better dressed than I am but was still quite shocked when I saw one in SdC recently from my bedroom window. He was kneeling down, full weight on his knees, and obviously in great distress with a paper cup in his hands.

This was in the Rua de San Francisco and I felt very guilty of my opulent surroundings then suddenly, when there was nobody about, he stood up, emptied his cup into his coat pocket and adjusted the knee pads he was wearing under his trousers before kneeling down again.

It put me in mind of the Sherlock Holmes story "The Man with the Twisted Lip" where a business man finds he can earn more by begging than working.

I still give when I think it's a genuine case of hardship though.
 

Renlibb

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Starting August 2016
#59
Somewhere between Herrerias and O Cebreiro the other day I was approached by a young couple who said they were Hungarian pilgrims returning from Santiago and could I help them.
I gave them 5 Euros thinking I'd rather be the victim of a con than deny someone who needed help because I suspected I was being duped.
We met the same "couple" and gave them money...as did many other pilgrims. Turns out to be a fairly lucrative spot for them. Shame they prey on the kindness of others...
 

Georgina77

Vancouver Island in December
Camino(s) past & future
Future July 2015 hopefully......... did it awesome :)
#61
while sitting here writing out my thoughts on this I felt God remind me of something that happened years ago ..40 years ago this thanksgiving I had been seeking the Lord and so my sister introduced me to a man named Harold Breadison he was a Pastor before he would pray for me he said he had a question to ask me ; it was did I want to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior even if it meant my husband would leave me. I said yes, and he prayed and I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit : a year and a half later my husband left me and my two sons who were 4 and 5 years old ....fast forward tw0 years later I am moved to a different city and living in a low income housing area I am not eating during the week and only eating on week ends so I can have enough food for three meals a day for my boys Things were very tight and one day I used the last of my flour to make a couple of loafs of bread to feed my kids ...I had hoped that it would be enough to last till I got some money at the end of the month .... just after I had finished making the bread I heard the voice of the Lord so very strong telling me to take my neighbor who had just moved in next door a loaf of bread I argued with the Lord and said no I need it for my sons but the voice was so strong that I finally I took a loaf I think it was the next day as I was fighting the Lord on it Not knowing the woman or ever have spoken to her before I felt really embarrassed so as I knocked on her door I held the loaf of bread behind my back and hoped she wasn't home or that God would change his mind but to my disappointment she opened the door ; I said Hi told her my name, that I was a Christian, that I lived next door and she may find this weird but I felt that God had told me to bring her over a loaf of bread and that it was home made and not the greatest and if she didn't want it it was okay Well her eyes widened so big you would have thought they were going to pop out of her head her face went white as a ghost and her jaw literally dropped open and all she could get out as the turned and ran down her basement stairs was don't move don't move stay right there I could hear her throwing things in the basement and feared she was coming back with a gun to shoot me or something but after a bit she re turned holding a large black garbage bad and in it was a big black and white mess of something she went on to tell me it was bread she had tried to make for her husbands lunch as they ran out and they didn't have enough money to buy any more ...I was scared she was going to try and kiss me she was so happy that I gave her a loaf of bread shortly after that some people called me from the church and asked me if they could come over and when they did they came with bags and bags and bags and more bags of groceries and they even paid for my car to be fixed I always think of the Scripture that says cast your bread upon the water and after many days it will return and it did press down shaken together and running over So yes I do believe give and it shall be given unto you press down shaken together and running over I think giving when we feel the power of God telling us to give is such an honor especially when it is out of our lack or need and in an act of obedience I can't tell you how very hard it was to let go of that loaf of bread I was very worried I would not make it till pay day.... I guess all I am trying to say is sometimes it is not about the person who is receiving like my neighbor but it is more about how God is wanting to bless and give to the giver how he is trying to teach us to trust him and to show us how much he loves us and for us or at least me to learn not to judge the person I am giving to but for me to learn to give with a pure heart for all I have is the Lords and with our him I have and am nothing
 
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J F Gregory

Portugal Coast - March 2019
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished
March 2019 the Portugal Coastal Route
#63
I used to be addicted to street drugs. A kind man helped me even though I took advantage of him. Through his testimony of unconditional love he eventually led me to the Savior Jesus Christ. There was no religion involved only a man who followed the teachings of Jesus. Because of that man I got clean and sober, became a pastor serving in the church more than 25 years. I give even when I know I am being taken advantage of, always clarifying that the gift I am give is in the Name of Jesus the Christ and I encourage them as I was, not to take advantage of Jesus' gifts in a harmful way and I will not give unless they know the gift is blessed by God and to use it wisely.
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
#66
If you are going to ask me, a pilgrim, for money, expect to pray with me before getting anything. I want you to be thinking about what you are asking and God at the same time.
Errr? What if the pilgrim needing help does not quite fit in with your beliefs?
I lost a best friend of 30 years when for the third different occasion after countless visits he instructed me at the age of 50 , that I would do what he dictates while I am a guest in HIS home or ..... I can ..... Off!
This I did ..... I have not seen or spoken to him in 5 years.
Till today I feel abused , I had even bought the food for that night's meal and my old pal had thought that as I was sleeping in his home that night , he had the right to manipulate me and force me to adhere to his references.
After all those years my company and friendship was egotisticaly conditional.?
 
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#67
Errr? What if the pilgrim needing help does not quite fit in with your beliefs?
I lost a best friend of 30 years when for the third different occasion after countless visits he instructed me at the age of 50 , that I would do what he dictates while I am a guest in HIS home or ..... I can ..... Off!
This I did ..... I have not seen or spoken to him in 5 years.
Till today I feel abused , I had even bought the food for that night's meal and my old pal had thought that as I was sleeping in his home that night , he had the right to manipulate me and force me to adhere to his references.
After all those years my company and friendship was egotisticaly conditional.?

Indeed IMHO giving is always unconditional. Thank you Renshaw for your honest post.
Btw when invited in my house I will only insist that you will at least eat one of my ( if I say so myself ) delicious homemade blueberry muffins.

Ultreia!!
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#68
I lost a best friend of 30 years when for the third different occasion after countless visits he instructed me at the age of 50 , that I would do what he dictates while I am a guest in HIS home or ..... I can ..... Off!
I'm sorry such a long friendship was destroyed; I can tell you still feel it's loss, and I hope someday the two of you can mend the rift.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September - October 2016 Camino Frances
#69
Yes a Hungarian couple wearing backpacks approached us today on the way to Hospital de Orbigo - she looked very weary and he said "God bless you" - we gave them a few euros. They were walking away from Santiago so they passed hundreds of pilgrims. Probably quite lucrative really.
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
#70
They were walking away from Santiago so they passed hundreds of pilgrims. Probably quite lucrative really.
Really? I hope you are never in a position where you have to beg!?
I had to ask for help on the Camino once ..... It made phisicaly sick.
I retched afterwards and felt absolutely worthless.
This couple have been tracked and seem to be bonafide ,returning home .... You don't HAVE to give!
 
Camino(s) past & future
September - October 2016 Camino Frances
#71
Really? I hope you are never in a position where you have to beg!?
I had to ask for help on the Camino once ..... It made phisicaly sick.
I retched afterwards and felt absolutely worthless.
This couple have been tracked and seem to be bonafide ,returning home .... You don't HAVE to give!
Sorry to upset you - you're right of course. And they have travelled nearly 100 kms in 7 days since the original post. There were dozens of pilgrims in front of me and I saw many giving them money - they will have a bed and food tonight.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#72
And lets not forget the closer to home they get, the less help from other pilgrims they might receive (due to numbers) we don't know their stories nor why they decided to do their pilgrimage - so lets err on the side of charity and compassion. Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#73
And just as a by the by.... If they are from Hungary, the Camino in Spain is VERY, but VERY, expensive.

To expand: Just as I was surprised how much we could get for 12 euros in Hungary, they may not have realised how MUCH they needed to get by in other countries. Just a thought.
 

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
#74
I have enough to be able to afford to give a few Euros without worrying if I was conned or not. The thinking behind the original post was if this couple were permanently stationed were I met them then they clearly fell into the mute clipboard brigade rather than being genuine pilgrims . A gift to someone you think is in need is a charitable act. You might want to consider giving if the recipient is a professional mendicant.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#75
Assumptions; perceptions based on our own limited experiences; interpretations of actions without understanding of cause: These can all make fools of all of us. This is one of my grandmothers tales -

Sgt MacBride spots a Tinker pushing an old bicycle through the village. Sgt MacBride has a suspicion of Tinkers. He calls him over. “And where are you going with that?” He asks the Tinker.
“I’m taking it to the Church, to lean it on the wall.”
“And why would you be leaning it on the Church wall?”
“Because I would not wish to leave where it wasn’t.”
“And where did you get this bicycle from?”
“Where it was.”
“And where was that?”
“It was leaning on the Church wall.”
Tinkers easily tire Sgt MacBride… “Did you remove the bicycle from where it was?”
“I did.”
“And you are aware that the removal of bicycles from their proper station is an act of unlawfulness?"
“I am indeed.”
“And for what purpose did you remove this bicycle from its station?”
“I observed that its front wheel was of a shape inappropriate to its function and also that its brakes were unlikely to provide service at time of need. A deficiency that was most probably the occasion of the disproportion of the wheel”
“I do not observe any impropriety in the shape of this wheel” said Sgt MacBride, “nor do the brakes appear deficient of their function.”
“Your are perceptive” said the Tinker, “and your observations correct in every way.”
“Then I am led to conclude that you have sought to deceive me in your purpose and that I should take you in the act of the offence of removal and bring you before the Magistrate.”
“You are indeed led,” said the Tinker “and easily. For have I not told you that I am taking this bicycle to the Church for the purpose of leaning it on the wall. It would appear to me, as it would to any witness and as it would to the honoured Magistrate himself that a man who is in the act of returning a bicycle to its proper station cannot be in the offence of removal.”
“And who are you, a Tinker, to declare the likely conclusion of an honoured Magistrate?”
“I am that Tinker that undertook to repair the bicycle of the honoured Magistrate, him that leant the said bicycle on the wall of the Church to which I am endeavouring to return it. That honoured man not likely minded to favour Sgt MacBride in an argument given that the return of his bicycle has been impeded without warrant.”

Sgt MacBride perceived that he was indeed tired of Tinkers and went to his rest.

A gift given brings as much benefit to the giver as the receiver
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#76
Really? I hope you are never in a position where you have to beg!?
I had to ask for help on the Camino once ..... It made phisicaly sick.
I retched afterwards and felt absolutely worthless.
This couple have been tracked and seem to be bonafide ,returning home .... You don't HAVE to give!
True, never say never.
Just curious. What were the circumstances behind your having to ask for monetary assistance on the Camino? How did you reach that point?
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
#77
.........
“I am that Tinker that undertook to repair the bicycle of the honoured Magistrate, .....
Sgt MacBride perceived that he was indeed tired of Tinkers and went to his rest.
Thanx for the great post☺
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
#78
True, never say never.
Just curious. What were the circumstances behind your having to ask for monetary assistance on the Camino? How did you reach that point?
Very personal Mark but I can tell you that I was so confident that I would be fine?
I had thousands of € due to me.
I was even I'll after scavenging discarded food out of a bin.
I really did not want to ask for help...... Anyone!
I lost not only my dignity but an innocence of a kind ,molested in a way if anyone can understand?
 

Georgina77

Vancouver Island in December
Camino(s) past & future
Future July 2015 hopefully......... did it awesome :)
#79
@Georgina77

Thank you so much for sharing your story ... and it touched me to the core of my heart Your story resonates with some of my life journey too........ ..... Isnt it difficult being a single parent? My husband walked out on us when my kids were 4 years old and 18 months too, so I do know how hard it is to struggle being a lone parent.....Being of Chinese origin and alone in the UK, I could not tell my parents (and siblings) about my husband leaving as in Chinese society, it meant that I was not good enough for him, hence his leaving me for another woman. Indeed, I could not tell anybody - I continued going to work and engaged an au pair to look after the kids, whilst struggling to juggle 3 jobs to bring in the money to survive. Indeed, my daughter remembers us selling books (one of my 3 jobs) in after school clubs.... and my son remembers pulling books in a baby cart to exhibit our books in a stall.. Mum died few months later (and Father 5 years after that) , and of course, she told me that she knew that my ex had left - indeed everyone suspected as he no longer accompanied us on our nfrequent trips home to the Far East. Today, I feel my parents (who are both deceased) guiding me all the time. Whenever I had a problem, I would ask my parents for advice, and after a while, I usually come up with a solution..... that I felt I had mulled over with my parents. When my ex left, I decided to bring my kids up the way I was brought up - the Chinese way (I was never a tiger mum but my kids did get strings of As)........ today my kids are well balanced and doing extremely well in their chosen fields.... and I thank my parents, my siblings and the Universe for such blessings. We are doing very well, and I have been able to choose to retire in my 50s and I also wish my ex every happiness in his life..

Life is such a journey.... when my mum first passed, I used to dream of her quite a lot. When she was dying, I went home and she woke up and asked for me and then she died. I think she was very worried about me, but she could see that I was ok. She spoke about kindness and goodness and I am sooooo grateful to my dear wonderful parents.

When my ex husband first told me he wanted to leave us in December 1999, I was stunned..... I had not suspected anything (talking about self aware! :eek:) but very calmly told him if that was what he desired, he should leave as we were not chained together. My daughter was very upset (father-daughter relationshoip!) and I had been haunted that I never tried to stop him going or had suggested counselling for my children's sake. My daughter went to live with them for 7 months when she was 16 and then came home. I am now content that my decision then was right for all of us.

I am not a Christian or a Catholic, and I was brought up in a Taoist Theravadian household, and educated in a Convent as a child. Indeed, I do relate to Catholicism as I find it has a lot os similarity to Buddhism. One of the precepts that Buddhists practise is generosity...... and every time we give, we get back more in so many ways.

I think, maybe, we need some guidance in life and deep faith in some God or Being. For me, I know I do, and am truly grateful to my parents and the Universe. And, walking the Camino allows me to feel surrounded and enveloped by that Being...

Ginette
I thank you for your response and sharing in relation to my post, I do find it hard to share some of these things as some memories are very personal and very painful to speak about as I am sure you know that from your post ...I know that not all people share in my beliefs or experiences but honestly it is who I am
my niece lives in China she is married to a Chinese man and has three children she teaches school there and seems very happy but home sick for Canada some times ... I believe they follow the Buddhist beliefs but I am not sure they got married several different times several different ways kind of funny one was on the tv in China and they were both dressed in the traditional Chinese wedding garments very pretty .... she is my younger brothers daughter and he went to China for the wedding and enjoyed it very much I have to admit ..like most non Chinese people . I don't know a lot about the Buddhist faith
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#80
I don't know a lot about the Buddhist faith
It's a beautiful one, and I think you will be surprised how many ideals are shared.
I think it would be a an act of kindness, to be able to relate to your homesick niece and her children on that level.
You seem like a pretty amazing woman.
 

Georgina77

Vancouver Island in December
Camino(s) past & future
Future July 2015 hopefully......... did it awesome :)
#81
It's a beautiful one, and I think you will be surprised how many ideals are shared.
I think it would be a an act of kindness, to be able to relate to your homesick niece and her children on that level.
You seem like a pretty amazing woman.
I am not so amazing believe me and thank you so much for your all your sharing and input
 

Blade

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Levante 2017
#82
You need a story:

I was once sitting in a cafe in Merida (on the VdlP) having coffee (I stayed there for 4 days due to hurt feet), when an old widow came by, begging for some coins. I gave her nothing. As she left around the corner, I suddenly thought to myself "You must be the worst pilgrim in the world! Here you are sitting with more than enough money to walk across Spain, but you cannot afford some pocket money for a poor old woman!"

So I ran after her, but she was gone.

The next day I returned to the same cafe hoping she would return, and she did. I had her sit down and relax, ordered a cup of coffee for her, took my hat and collected coins from the rest of the guests there, together with my own pocket money. It became quite a few Euros. I received two of the sweetest kisses in my life on each cheek as she left.

Lesson learned: Give to those who need: You will most likely receive more than what you give, both inside yourself as well as in the exterior world. After meeting that old woman, I never pass by a needing person without giving some. She taught me a very strong lesson. "Give and you shall receive". I have enough to share a little for the less fortunate. If you are "conned", so be it: We all meet a..holes, but in the long run, you will win by sharing with those who really need. And they are quite easy to spot, aren't they?
It was a scam.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#83
I always keep change in my pocket to give away but I will not give if the act of giving facilitates an evil. That is what is happening in Cambodia, where there is now a trade in children to put into "orphanages". Many of these children are not orphans at all, but are solicited and bought from their families either by promises they will have a better life, or simply by payment of money. Those who run the orphanages do so for profit. It is the contributions and acts of charity from wealthy tourists, westerners and volunteer labour that underpins this evil, evil business model.
Similarly, I personally know of two well known Sydney beggars (I consider them victims) who sleep and stay out on the street in the worst of weathers, because people tend to be more charitable when it is obviously cold. They have handlers who have them in thrall for various reasons and who take a proportion of the money the beggars earn - so the more money they make, the more valuable they are to their handlers, and the smaller the chance that they will move off the streets and into public housing (which has been offered - and they both also receive social security income support). Every now and the one will finish up in hospital and my colleagues and I am thankful - but the push from their handlers and the lure of the money takes them back to the street all too soon.

Life is not always simple, and sometimes the best acts of charity do not involve money.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#84
When I lived in Baltimore there were many homeless on the streets of my neighborhood. The 'regulars' quickly learned not to ask me for money, but I always stopped to say Hi and ask how they were doing, if they had gone to see their son like they'd mentioned, or were the new meds helping...I think they appreciated not being 'looked through.' I know I would. When I'm panhandled on the streets in any city, if I don't give money I still smile and wish the person well...

On the way to the market in my neighborhood, or on training walks, I would pack cold water, or PBJ sandwiches, little soaps, or wool caps I'd bought at the dollar store--depending on season--and if someone asked for money I'd offer that instead. One time, quite a distance from home, a very large man was walking down the street yelling at people, and when he got to me he blocked the sidewalk and demanded money. I told him (quite honestly) that I wasn't carrying any...then hesitated wondering if I should walk quickly past. :oops:. Instead I smiled and pulled out a sack lunch and said 'but I have this, it's just a PBJ sandwich and a couple of pieces of fruit." I was actually apologetic because usually I put some chips with the PBJ. He grabbed it from me and I wondered again the wisdom of my walk, and regretted again not packing chips...then he broke into the happiest smile I've ever seen and said "fruit! I love fruit! I can't remember the last time I had fruit." so I pulled out the one lone apple I had in the bag (for my last mile reward), we discussed the relative merits of apples and oranges, and he walked away singing a happy tune.

I agree money is sometimes (perhaps often) not the thing to give, because it can instead go to destructive uses. But no one can use a smile and kind word to buy alcohol or drugs. The 'regulars' in my neighborhood never expected money from me, or even the little things I sometimes carried. They liked being seen as a person.

n.b. I am old with years of military training and martial arts. Young people should not strike up conversations with strangers, especially if they are by themselves
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#86
.... n.b. I am old with years of military training and martial arts. Young people should not strike up conversations with strangers, especially if they are by themselves
I absolutely disagree, but agree with the rest of your post, Buen Camino, SY
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#88
And I might be a nearly-fifty years old that still remembers the trips I did as a youngster and has seen more good in people than evil ;-) SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#89
Young people should not strike up conversations with strangers, especially if they are by themselves
That is too general a statement to agree or disagree with! (I expect you'll agree.) Children and young people need to learn to be aware of risks, make judgements, and know how to manage risks.

My children all had what I call the stranger-averse gene. When they were young children, I never ever had to caution them not to talk to strangers. On the contrary, I had to teach them when it was all right to do so! That teaching/learning is a process that a parent tries to complete (more or less) by the time they leave home. The 16-year-old recently asked about walking the camino, and I couldn't respond because I simply don't know where she was on that maturity scale.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#90
I agree...but personally would rather see teenagers talk to strangers when not alone, either in a group, or in a soup kitchen, etc or with a parent or guardian rather than by themselves in a strange place. It's not the teenager's judgment I worry about, it is how vulnerable they may appear due to size and age. Just my elderly maiden aunt opinion :)
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#91
I agree...but personally would rather see teenagers talk to strangers when not alone, either in a group, or in a soup kitchen, etc or with a parent or guardian rather than by themselves in a strange place. It's not the teenager's judgment I worry about, it is how vulnerable they may appear due to size and age. Just my elderly maiden aunt opinion :)
Young people doesn't necessarily equal teenagers/ under age (referring to your OP here), it can also simply mean "people that are significantly younger than me". As my philosophy teacher used to say "before we discuss a topic, we need to define the topic we are about to discuss". Buen Camino, SY
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#92
I haven't met a 20-something that considered themselves a 'young person' rather it was just that those 30 and older were 'old people' :eek:

i'd edit my original post but messed up the keys and now I can't
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#93
Lol, yes, perhaps youngness is being a retrospective thing and oldness a label we apply to others ;-) SY

Oh uh, second language English speaker here, not sure if I get my point across ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#94
I agree...but personally would rather see teenagers talk to strangers when not alone, either in a group, or in a soup kitchen, etc or with a parent or guardian rather than by themselves in a strange place. It's not the teenager's judgment I worry about, it is how vulnerable they may appear due to size and age. Just my elderly maiden aunt opinion :)
Yes, of course, it is reasonable caution. But it will happen, at times, and the experience of doing it with appropriate awareness is part of the learning process leading to confidence and an ability to travel in the world. There isn't a point (age) when it suddenly changes!
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#96
And I think of those parents that shepherded their kids absolutely everywhere until the age of 18 and then dropped them suddenly off at university with a short 'behave and good-bye' and expected them to be able to navigate the whole wide world suddenly on their own ... Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#97
And I think of those parents that shepherded their kids absolutely everywhere until the age of 18 and then dropped them suddenly off at university with a short 'behave and good-bye' and expected them to be able to navigate the whole wide world suddenly on their own ... Buen Camino, SY

And of course times do change. I'm 47 now and I remember that when I was 6 ( six !! ) my grandpa gave me some money on friday afternoon and sent me to the local mom & pop store three streets further away ( no traffic to speak of ) to buy a bottle of brandy for treating his carpenters ( he owned a carpentry ). No one thought this was abnormal. Nowadays I'm sure we would call social services if we would see a six year old walking three streets from home with a bottle of brandy.

But I digress....;)
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#98
Lol yes! And my 'cruel' parents kicked me out of home after school, with a sandwich, and said I had be back by nightfall - if not ... And we (group of kids) explored happily the countryside and did some really interesting things our parents thankfully never knew about. Sledding down a steep hill in a discarded oil tank anybody? That were


Buen Camino de la Vida, SY
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#99
Nowadays I'm sure we would call social services if we would see a six year old walking three streets from home with a bottle of brandy.
this will be what makes me laugh the rest of the week, a little Sabine strolling home with brandy. Or SYates, covered in oil and eating her sandwich beside a discarded tank...
um, you both have discarded these behaviors, right?
 
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
this will be what makes me laugh the rest of the week, a little Sabine strolling home with brandy. Or SYates, covered in oil and eating her sandwich beside a discarded tank...
um, you both have discarded these behaviors, right?
Of course.. I evolved ;). I know drive a car and buy decent Albariño wine and no Courvoisier Cognac anymore.
Ha another memory comes up now. When my grandma was dying ( fysically very ill but mentally still very lucid ) the priest came for the last Sacraments she demanded my uncle " To give the priest the decent brandy and not the cheap crap I serve you when visiting me ". Loved her. But I digress again.....;);)
 


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