This photograph was taken as I was leaving a stunningly beautiful church in the citta’ di Messina in Italy.
I had just visited bell tower opposite built in 1933, and which holds one of the worlds largest astronomical clocks.
The belfry’s mechanically-animated statues, which illustrate events from the civil and religious history of the city every day at noon, are one of the main popular tourist attractions.
The tourist venue was packed with visitors. Many taking coach trips, booking rides on horse drawn carriages, or just relaxing with coffee and pastries, outside one of the many eateries, which were scattered about.
I had previously watched this little family arrive, and sit down together, placing a small copper plate on the church steps before them.
Then collectively, they would offer the warmest smile to each person entering and exiting the church.
They sat there for many hours in the church entrance begging, and seeking shelter from the heat of the sun.
I was particularly moved when, despite the many refusals of money they received from many of the visiting holidaymakers, their kindness, manners and humility remained intact.
Eventually though as the crowds dispersed, they gathered up their money from the days collection, joined hands together, and walked together across the square, eventually disappearing from view.
It’s difficult to know if you should try to help people who are begging, or if this should be avoided, for all the reasons which I am sure you are only too familiar.
Personally, I constantly struggle with this dilemma.
But hey ho…… Maybe it’s the ‘rescuer’ instinct in me coming out!