Destinations Magazine

Christmas Eve Among Bums

By Pabster @pabloacalvino
Christmas Eve among bums

It's Christmas Eve. A big round moon, very white, shines on the pure black of a Polish night. On an empty stomach, I drag my Christmas loneliness along the cold and deserted streets of Bialystok. What am I doing here? Never mind. It's just that... I'd like to have supper at the warmth of humans.

Everything is closed. Not even the Turkish open today their kebab kiosks. I'll have to go back to my hotel room without dinner.

The sound of some music comes to me ears, and thither I turn my steps. Under a small marquee three musicians play and, alongside them, warm food and hot tea is handed out by a group of volunteers. The city bums gather around. They fill up their bellies, then have seconds, then yet ask for more, so they can take it away to their slum dens.

I come closer and look over the counter; I have qualms to profit from the destitute's food; but when I'm turning my back, a smiling lady welcomes me: '¡zapraszamy, zapraszamy! Jest barszcz, prosze pan'. A wee bit ashamed, I take the cup full of warm borsh and the spoon she hands me; and there, among the other beggars, I finish off the tasteful broth. Suddenly I feel among my kindred. What's the difference between us? Maybe I can pay the food I'm given and they can't; but at the end of the day, here we are, all together in the same place, homeless people sharing an unexpected-for Christmas Eve that the Church has brought to us: some music and good homemade food, traditional Polish: borszcz, pierogi, bigos, herbata ...

Yes, this charitable thing is organized by the Catholic Church. Not by the social government, nor by the radical street-lamp breakers, nor by the so-called 'solidary' lefties, leave aside the trendy anti-Christians; all of those, all of them, are now celebrating Christmas Eve with their families. Only the Church sets up this munificent counter: the criticized and attacked Church.

I talk to the lady in charge. I'd like to give them a few banknotes, contribute to their care, reward at least the warm food, the tea, the music and nice atmosphere; but she wouldn't take my money. This is for free-she says-; but if you feel grateful you can thank the Lord. Ah, madam!, that's exactly what I can't...

Eventually, I go back to my hotel. Walking along the cold and deserted streets of Bialystok, under the full moon, I'm just another vagabond returning to his den; a vagabond who's spent Christmas Eve among his kindred.

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