One of the things we noticed during our excursion to Namtso Lake was the number of dogs that roam freely within the National Park. The locals will kick the dogs when they wander too close to the dining table, but in general, they leave the dogs be.
Jo and I love dogs. So when the dogs came to our table, we were sorely tempted to coddle and feed them. The only thing stopping us from doing that was the fear of ringworms (we’ve heard stories), and of being attacked by the other dogs in the pack who couldn’t get any food.
All in all, the dogs in Namtso were generally well fed, because we’ve seen instances when the locals would throw out leftovers for the dogs.
This was kinda strange to me, because judging by the number of times we’ve been approached by beggars, the locals appear to live in relative poverty.
The feeding of the dogs led to Bob the Bulgarian (who is actually called Lee) questioning the source of the meat we were having for lunch.(eeeek…)
Back to the beggars. They operate in family syndicates with the cutest kids acting as the forward vanguard in the racket. I consider myself resistant to most forms of begging, especially from young kids. It’s a personal belief that giving in would result in long-term harm – that the kids would rely on begging and consider it a legitimate way to put food on the table. Some people would think that this is just cheapskate self justification and I cannot fully deny that.
The beggars at Namtso Lake were some of the most persistent I’ve ever met… there was a time when there were four kids clinging on to my legs in such a way that I just could not move.
They were at it for quite some time and it started to bother me.
That’s when I had a not-so-proud moment when I felt like kicking one of them just so I would be able to move again.
It was a thought that flashed across my mind. I know… I sound like a terrible human being, but I was stuck there for so very long. At that point, I felt so guilty that a thought like that would even cross my mind.
Thinking back, I feel more anger than guilt.
Some anger at myself for treating dogs better than actual human kids.
But a lot of anger at the parents who would willingly coerce their kids to beg. I know they probably had no choice, given their situation in life. Maybe my upbringing means I could never understand what they are going through, but I just cannot reconcile parents who would allow their kids to be treated worse than dogs.