Monday, April 14, 2008

HOTHANDS FOR THE HOMELESS, SNOWFLAKE AND ON GIVING GRUDGINGLY



I have been hanging out with my neighbors little boy, Mitchell's puppy, Snowflake since this morning. I have never really been a dog person. I had one once and had to give her back to the dog pound as I was too poor to feed her and I. I was so traumatized by the experience of losing such a sweet being to an unknown future without me or I her, that I never got close to a dog again. I think Snowflake is my bridge back 20 years later. She is a 5 month old pit bull mix with the sweetest disposition - unless she decides she is running the show or protecting you - then, ka-pow !!! you see the breeds disposition. She's getting to hang out with me and I with her for an overnighter. It's a win win for everyone involved right now.

I took her with me to give out the Hot Hands to the homeless under the bridge to wait in the car.

STREAM OF THOUGHT BLOGGING: SOME OF MY EXPERIENCES UNDER THE CLAIBORNE BRIDGE:

The community patterns have changed - Steven, the man who started Homeless Pride, is still there. There was a man who moved from one end of the encampments to another that remembered me. The professor which I met in Duncan Park is still there. The same area that felt creepy - from the beginning - still does. I was surprised to see the various types of homeless peoples that are there. Many are broken in some way, spirit, body, mind, others are wanderers, passing through as the wander through cities and mountain trails following the seasons. I am still deeply moved by mattresses where you can see it is someones whole life - and it is left so neatly. Maybe a little crate next to it. Some cots, some beds. The old man I really liked seeing and hoped the last time I wrote of him that he would be helped to find permanent indoor shelter and some comfort, was gone. In his place was a young man sleeping on a cot, my heart ached when I saw him, perhaps a runaway, perhaps someone was making life so unsafe for him that it is safer to live homeless under the bridge. I could tell as he did not have the loss of a consciousness of some level of innocence that seems to accumulate around a person who has spent more time on the streets or wandering the country. I met some really southern southern men. Like when you think of the Appalachian peoples or other east coast side of the country, mountain men. I witnessed the most interesting and diverse culturally groups of people helping each other. Addicts, alcoholics, the depressed, the PTSD's, the hookers, the drug dealers, the junkies, the hustlers, the elderly, the tired, the lost, our planetary brothers and sisters.... just a little warmer tonight and tomorrow night (only 80 that I met) many where not there and I left as many mylar blankets and double packs of Hot Hands as I could on the empty bed areas first, and then by the tents. Thank yo so much to Jeff Myers from Myers Custom Supply for sending me the case of 100-300 mylar blankets as a a gift to the homeless. And for sending the extra 2 baggies of HotHands for boots. They really get hot Jeff. Also, if you are a non-profit, or someone helping others in need, as well as a school or other organization that may benefit from getting mre's or other foods stuffs for either well below cost, cost of shipping, or even depending on when the expiration date is a pallet free, Jeff would like to make contact with you. He told me that he has many contacts where he is asked if he knows an agency or group that can us a pallet of food or even a few pallets and the terms are always different as there actually is a consciousness with Jeff to make sure if he can, that the food can be eaten. http://www.myerscustomsupply.com - Jeff Myers. He matched and added even more to my orders with donation monies sent to me for the Hot Hands for the homeless. He is really a kind man.

One man mistook Snowflakes presence in my car. Thinking here I was walking amongst them and sitting in my car is a little pit bull mix. But if you look in her face, you see the sweetness of the little boy who has raised her. I could see his face change after our interaction and he was walking away and I to the car to refill my bag. You know how I go on about Caucasian people and their dogs down here. Well there I was in my "volvo" station wagon - elitist (sold to me by my as redneck as you can get, and proud to tell you,, heart of gold mechanic from MA) and I am "helping" or giving as someone said to me that I spoke to "charity."

"Are you giving charity?" a man asked me.

I said something like, "I don't know, I just remember what it was like to live outside in cold weather and I wanted to give these out."

"Well, " he says, "if your willing to give me charity, then why not give me a warm place to sleep tonight?" He says this seriously in a joking manner. There is beer on his breath and a beer in his hand.

"I have slept in 11 below zero snow pack without a heater. I have been homeless and unseen. I have had to go through what you are going through and there wasn't anyone to invite me into their homes. I made it and so will you."

Our conversation ended soon after.

It is so hard to see the suffering, and I do understand that this level of suffering is necessary in every generation, but how we respond to our planetary brothers and sisters suffering - with compassion in our eyes, or even a smile in our eyes, or caring in our eyes. "Witnessing" their plight and responding as compassionately as possible without creating a dependency.

Which leads me to the last things I wanted to mention...

I went to the Hari Khrishna Temple on Esplanade on Sunday night. It was a celebration that was being held on the Sunday that they usually feed the Hari Krishna community and the poor - volunteers, artists, people just helping out others, hippies, freaks, geeks, kids, hungry people. I have been spending a little more of my food and gas money on a time specific project I am involved in with Christine, Nature, and even the little bodhisattva Mary, having to do with plants and so I have had a little less money for food. So the last 2 Sundays I have gone to the temple for dinner. I am always respectful to the the temple, the Harri Krishna community but I find that I am often ignored (as if irrelevant - like something that needs to be there, but the people would rather not intermingle or maybe this is what being in a "CASTE" system feels like. ??? I am bizarrely fed beautiful sacred food and treated with contempt when I participate in receiving it...)

I try to be mindful about asking for help or things from my planetary brothers and sisters, and when I do, I feel as if I need to do so to bring balance to my life. So going to eat there without giving anything back except respect for the temple and blessings for the food is a special treat. And I find that I am treated as if the line of women that are doling out the food to us like I look well fed enough and they give me tiny portions, will not look me in the eye and talk amongst themselves. The other night I was getting a plate for myself and another to share and when I asked for a little more as 2 were sharing the plate I was grudgingly given a little extra from 2 of the pots.

I understand if they were concerned about running out of food. It was a big group for the celebration of the deity - Ram Shandra I believe and there were a lot of people there. It also felt like college students who do have money, were there and eating the food, sometimes the best meal many of the artists or volunteers might have that week.

Yeah, there are volunteers who have no money, who help get people back into their homes and they dumpster dive. Some volunteers have told me that sometimes they "dumpster dive" because it is food that is being wasted that is still good, and as it is not left out for the poor, some feel obligated to eat this food which is being wasted. There are some pretty intense people here in New Orleans post Katrina 2008. It is such an honour to be here - right now.

Blessings. Krishna - Krishna - Harri Krishna.



I am pretty tired. I will edit later.

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