Friday, March 23, 2012

Three Days & Two Nights, Homeless.

Home. At times it's so incredibly easy to forget that we have a home and that many others do not. Homeless is a tough issue to deal with and an even harder for those who suffer from it. To get a better understanding of homelessness this trip we spent three days and two nights out and about on the streets homeless. It was a long and tiring ordeal being homeless, we would have to go digging through trash bins and panhandle for money if you didn't want to eat at a shelter and all we did was wander from place to place trying to stem one of the biggest problems homeless people deal with: Boredom. But for me at least it would be finding a suitable shelter at night but first I will have to tell my story.

Within the homelessness challenge we were put into groups of three so that we would be safer that way in a group. I got separated from the group in less than thirty minutes from our starting point so for the first day and a part of the night I was flying solo. During the day it wasn't so bad being homeless, it just entailed a lot of walking and a lot of "Oh what in the world do I do now?" moments. I had gotten two dollars and a mcdouble during the day and my water bottle was full to the brim so I was pretty much set for food and water. But there was a complete change when it changed from day to night. When the sun started setting people starting rushing to get home. Rather normal phenomenon right? Actually in this instance no, because I was a lost little boy in a big city which I didn't know about and had no where to go. Once the sun set and night came out it could be noted that every fifteen minutes that passed there seemed to be less people. The peak of their being no people was around say... 9 PM This was incidentally the time in which we're supposed to meet up with some guides to help us find shelter for the night in which everyone was helped with finding a place to sleep but me because I was STILL wandering around the city looking for the spot in which we were to meet. But from 9 PM on I noticed that while the streets seemed to be emptier that they started to get a little more populated, only these kinds of people weren't the working class or the high business people, they were the homeless. So I made note of this and went and talked with a few of them and their answers rather disturbed me. First they could obviously tell that if I really was homeless, this was probably my first night. Second that I had better have my back to a wall and sleep light if I still wanted my bag the next day and perhaps my life. And thirdly, beware of the crack heads. They said they all did weed, alcohol, tobacco, etc but they singled out that that whatever you do beware crack and the crackheads. After talking with a few of these guys I was starting to freak out a bit. Not only that but once I started to they said it was pretty apparent that I was scared shitless and that I shouldn't make it too obvious or that would mean I would present myself as an easy target. So it's about 11 PM now and, as I said, I was really freaking out on what to do, especially where to sleep. Eventually I decided that the best option would be to go back to the hostel as that was the only really secure location I knew. I finally got found by a group which was waiting in front of the hostel if I ever came back there. After many tears of me being found and frantic texting to everyone that I had been found the guide with the group found us a nice place to sleep in front of a Macy's and yeah. End of day one.

The main thing that I want say really from this is that I think the hardest thing that Homeless people have to deal with is really the Night. Everyone needs to sleep but as you don't have a home anymore you feel so acutely the dangers and your mind just keeps making up worst case scenarios. Not only with fear being a constant throbbing force throughout the night, but when your new to the city like I was there comes the issue of: "Am I taking someone's bed and am I gonna get beat to a pulp because I took someone's bench?". Things like these we don't take into the account simply because since we have a warm home waiting for us. But when put on the streets you just think of EVERYTHING and all at once, especially the worst case scenarios. The fear envelopes you, grips you, and never lets go.

There's an blessing which the Irish use which I find appropriate: May you always be blessed with walls for the wind. A roof for the rain. A warm cup of tea by the fire. Laughter to cheer you. Those you love near you. And all that your heart may desire.


TL:DR Read it, Please. Comment too! :3

1 comment:

  1. Great job Khoua, I'm totally thankful for your willingness to venture into the unknown.....tcou