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Stolen Smiles – The little Girl Selling Rosaries at Starbucks

June 4, 2011

Stolen smiles - rosary girl

 Dear world,My name is Mohammad and this is me taking a stand against child labor.This is the first of 4 posts; over the next few days I will share few stories that I heard/saw; in the last post we will discuss what can be done; I will edit the last post based on your comments on the first 3 posts!

She broke my heart . . .

And that wasn’t the first time a little kid breaks my heart in our beloved Amman, this is not the first story . . . nor is it the worst story; but this story is different. This story made me decide to take some time out of my hectic life and write about it . . . what and easy way out  to unburden my conscience !

Sir . . . do you want a rosary? عمو . . . بـدك مسبحـة؟

Time? After 11 pm on a weekday, Place Starbucks Abdoun, Amman, Jordan . . . I was studying there when I heard a little voice say “Sir . . . do want a rosary?” it took her so long to say that; like she was still learning how to create words with that little mouth of hers. She was looking up to me with her wishful big eyes . . . as touched as I was by the amount of genuine cuteness that has taken a human form before me; I couldn’t help but  feel angry deep down inside . . .

No sweetie, I want you to go home and sleep! Don’t you have school tomorrow??? لأ عمو . . . بـدي تروحي تنامي! ما عندك مدرسة بكره؟؟؟

I thought to myself: “What can I do?” I don’t buy stuff from kids like her for a simple reason: I don’t want to support this whole “child labor industry” . . . but is that the right thing to do? Doing “what’s right” and letting a child suffer? She probably has to bring a certain amount of money back every day (or else . . .).

“Should I call social services? But what will they do to her?” with all due respect social services could very well be another shiny media shell with a heaping pile of dirt inside! Our community is not “adoption-friendly” . . . with that option off the table can social services really do anything?
“Should I go after her and yell my guts out at her parents? IF the ones who brought her here were actually her parents?” “Yeah, sure . . . go ahead . . . satisfy your self-righteousness even if that leads to a “higher dosage” of that little creature’s not-very-unexpected semi-nightly whooping . . .”

Time to decide: I looked her in the eyes . . . her innocent big beautiful shiny round eyes . . . “No sweetie, I want you to go home and get some sleep! Don’t you have school tomorrow?”

She left . . . it was obvious that I can no longer study with all the anger broiling inside me . . . I just packed and left too!

The next day I woke up with the heaviest feeling in my chest . . . “I have to do something . . . I will do something . . .”

 Dear world,Please answer me: Have I done the right thing that night? What should I have done? How can I How can we take action?I will post my answers along with yours in the last post, thank you for reading. Looking forward to your replies.


Edit (18th of July, 2011) : Parts of this mini series:

Part 1:
Part 2:


P.S. If you feel like translating this to Arabic, then by all means go ahead (my Arabic typing is really slow!) I will link to your translation or post here if you want!

The drawing, acrylic washes on A4 paper, find it on:

16 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2011 7:44 am

    This is a wonderful post.

    • June 5, 2011 8:44 am

      Thanks Orpheus! I’m glad a veteran blogger like yourself thinks it worth reading 🙂

  2. Haitham Al-Sheeshany permalink
    June 5, 2011 8:21 am

    Thank you so much for this entry, sadly I don`t have a finite answer! It`s 1 of the issues that we all feel/see on daily basis, get the urge to do SOMETHING but kinda` clueless. 😦 😦

    You mentioned it was 11 PM! 😥

    Awaiting the other posts.

    • June 5, 2011 8:46 am

      it was AFTER 11 PM! Well, in my humble opinion, I believe that something can be done! I will refrain from posting my suggestions until the 4th post! stay tuned . . .

  3. June 5, 2011 9:13 am

    7irz, thanks for mentioning this, as a mom it breaks my heart. I don’t buy the stuff to support those who are exploiting them

    I have started carrying stuff in my car personally for these kids, things they have to use right then like juice boxes and even fruit, hats to keep the sun out of their eyes, a good quality used shirt or shoes (from my kids) toys, hairbrush. If they are with their ‘mom’ I may buy some yogurt or cheese and stay with them until they eat it in front of me.

    I always take their hand and pray for them, asking God to provide for them, inspire others to generosity and give them a chance to rise above their current poverty.

    • June 5, 2011 11:49 am

      Kinzi, thank you for the wonderful reply!

      When I was thinking “what should we do?” the idea of acting on a such an intimate and personal level didn’t cross my mind . . . I’m touched by your kindness & I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing.

  4. Haitham Al-Sheeshany permalink
    June 5, 2011 10:39 am

    we can do “things” , that`s 4 sure, but the effect is … well, small! 😦

    • June 5, 2011 11:51 am

      the collective effect of small efforts is never to be underestimated!

  5. Haitham Al-Sheeshany permalink
    June 5, 2011 11:52 am

    7irz, I`m with u on that, surly I am. It`s just the frustration speaking 😦

  6. June 5, 2011 12:58 pm

    Well, what should you have done is what you actually did. I always see those kids and it does break my heart every time I see one of them. they all have this filthy hair, dirty clothes, little hands,but they also have this sparkle in their eyes that you can’t help but notice it, this sparkle that makes you get attached to them, that makes you think about them after they’ve gone..we all want to feed those kids, give them shelter, food, and clean clothes, but that could not happen by buying from them.I like the solution mentioned above by Kiziblogs.

    • June 5, 2011 1:52 pm

      Thanks for the reply Manal . . . I agree; but I still neither one of these actions are enough, a good start, yes, but not a good solution

  7. June 5, 2011 2:41 pm

    I like what you did, I also do that. But I can’t stop thinking that there is more that we (myself included) can do…

    Glad you took the time, great post…

  8. Nadia permalink
    June 6, 2011 11:38 am

    Thanks for your post. and I’m glad there are still hearts that can be touched by a child’s innocence.
    Yes, something must be done, doesn’t have to be soon, but has to be big and have an impact.
    Thanks again 🙂

    • June 6, 2011 11:43 pm

      thank you for the kind reply 🙂 Indeed, something should be done!


  1. Stolen Smiles – The mechanic and the boy « 7irz

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