Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Tuesday 7:30 P.M.
Well I gave out all the HotHands, emergency blankets @15, hats, 2 bags of charcoal, 1 pair of shoes and Nature Man who came with me donated some tubes of toothpaste and HotHands he had.
Whilst I was walking around this is what seemed important to remember:
Everyone seems to be eating thanks to the people who come and feed the homeless here.
It helps to keep the porta-potties emptied. They are of no help to the homeless when they are not emptied of waste.
Bringing toilet paper is helpful.
Little sister is gone. I hope this means she got her apartment.
Too many of the homeless that I spoke with had gone through or are still going through the respiratory virus that I told you I had. They had to go through this really intense virus outside in a tent, or on an exposed mattress, in the cold, the rain, the damp under the highway. I thought I had it hard in my safe and warm house. They had to go through it under a noisey highway, exposed to all the elements. Many blessings to these planetary brothers and sisters in their hardships.
One of the homeless men I spoke with told me he went to the doctors yesterday for the respiratory infection but without papers and i.d. he couldn't get care. He says they are working on it for him. When we were done speaking he blessed me!
I came upon a man an woman sitting by a bed and a chair under the bridge, she was so cold, I asked him how he was, and he said truthfully, "Awful, I have no job, no home." How hard his and his wife's life is, I can't even begin to understand their sufferings.
My heart continues to be touched deeply by the way people who leave for the day leave their mattresses and tent areas. Yeah, there are some disaster areas, yet there are far more spaces kept with such care, expecially some of the exposed mattresses, the way belongings are left, arranged, with care, it touches my heart so profoundly. To have so very little materially and still manage to convey dignity, speaks to me of extraordinary 'being'ness. I give thanks to my Beloved Teacher for teaching me how to 'see' my planetary brothers and sisters in this way.
The elderly man that is all the way at the end is still there by his bed and his chair. He too had the virus, he said he still has some coughing. I gave him extra Hot Hands not only for the cold but for his arthritis in his legs which is painful to him. It is so hard to see him there. My eyes are glad to see him for I like his spirit and enjoy my brief interactions with him, but oh how how much better it would be for him to have a a warm, safe home to live in. He is elderly and homeless under the bridge.
Elderly and homeless under the highway. Mentally ill and homeless under the highway. Broken, wounded planetary brothers and sister living under the highway. And amongst them are the humans that are so broken they have become the scavengers, the thieves, and others still, that I encounter that I would not like to meet under the highway at night.
I know there are many people, individuals and organizations who are trying to help the homeless and those who continue to suffer post-Katrina as much as possible. I also know that in the city of New Orleans there are far too many people who live a privileged life, even myself, who are predominantly caucasian and the poor, who are predominantly black, continue to live in incredible hardship and poverty. I was in Nature Man's neighborhood today off of Elysian Fields and St. Anthony and the difference between how little rebuilding is going on in his neighborhood and the privileged good living that is enjoyed by the few who can pay the higher rents Uptown is heartbreaking.
Capitalism is so unfair. Racism is so unfair.