The Offering: Chokra Love
Suddenly someone was running behind me. I braced myself, instinctively sticking my hands into my pockets to guard my wallet. A boy ran past, stopped and turned to face me. He was a street kid, a chokora, about 7 years old and hungry-looking. He wore brown shorts and an oversize yellow shirt that had lost its buttons; when he ran the shirt spread out behind him like malformed wings. He had big eyes and his face was dusty as if he had been sand-bathing all day. He was holding something in a white dirty soggy paper cup. He held the cup high. Occasionally, he took a sip or pretended to take a sip, then wiped his mouth with a long tongue, which created a clean circle in his dusty face, a mustache of sorts.
"Sasa!" he greeted me, standing in my way.
"Yeah, sasa!" I responded with the little Kiswahili I knew and walked past him.
He caught up with me and felt my soaked shirt, sympathizing with my fatigue.
"Yogurt...yogurt!" he said, trying to offer me the paper cup.
"No...asante," I thanked him.
"No, I'm not thirsty," I lied and shrugged.
Looking intently at me, he said, "Me...me...broder, cheers!"
I remembered him and stopped. He was one of the two chokoras whom I had mistakenly invited into Our Lady of Guadalupe Church one rainy evening a few months back. I remembered how they, seeing the faithful receiving the Eucharist, had slipped into the Communion line, to take advantage of free wafers. I remembered the warm feeling I left Mass with because of the risk they'd taken to march in that line of "saints."