Gifts of Food, and a Gift of Dagga

Mandy Bodart used to live in a house in Cape Town, South Africa, that was near a place where homeless people took shelter. Nearly every day a homeless person knocked on Mandy’s door and asked for food. Mandy even prepared bags of food and kept them by the front door to give to the homeless. The bags contained ingredients for stew, which had to be prepared, and each bag was labeled “2” or “4,” according to how many servings the bag contained. Most of the homeless who came by to ask for food were able to cook it; Mandy wrote, “Our regular vagrants are as organised as cross-arctic explorers.” One day, a young Rastafarian knocked on her door. He did not have cooking facilities, and as a Rastafarian he did not eat meat, so Mandy gave him some already prepared veggie curry. Every day for three weeks, the young Rastafarian asked for food and Mandy considered asking him to start varying the people whom he asked for food. But the young Rastafarian showed up one day and said that he was now able to leave Cape Town because he had a bus ticket to Port Elizabeth, where his family lived. He also said that he wanted to give Mandy a gift. He pushed a large bag of dagga (marijuana) into Mandy’s hands and rushed away. Mandy wrote, “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. There I was holding a large quantity of illegal drugs in my hand, knowing I couldn’t burn it because the neighbours would call the cops. I didn’t dare put it in the garbage in case it was traced back to me, and at the same time I was so touched that ‘Bob’ really was giving me his most prized possession! In case you’re wondering, I eventually mixed it with sand and dumped it in a municipal bin under cover of darkness. And yes, I remained touched by his generosity, greater far than mine — for he gave his greatest treasure.”

For More Information: Mandy Bodart, “A Most Unexpected Gift.” 6 July 2011

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