PROUD to be one of the “seven”

Jenny told me she and Gabriel were going to be in the newspaper. Initially I thought this would be a good thing, because it might spark people’s interest in them, and engender some help. The reality was the furthest thing from my hope, and even Jenny knew that it might be a double-edged sword.

Jenny Echo

The article came about because a local taxi driver complained about their home in the alcove. Apparently it’s a “disgusting mess” and clutters up one of the historic 13th century monuments of the city (the old walls…which are one side of a city car park…and are used as toilets by assorted anyones who can’t find one open). You might hope that the man’s distaste for the ‘mess’ would spur him to help clear it up, by offering assistance. Your hopes would be in vain.

The taxi driver’s opinion, though lacking compassion, is far from the only one which takes that view. I made the mistake of visiting the online version of the article (HERE) and the bile and hatred and prejudice poured out towards Jenny and Gabriel in the comments left me sick to my stomach and really upset. I advised Jenny against looking at them.

Another complaint was about Jenny’s washing being hung out to dry and how it was being done in public. Seriously, where would he LIKE her to put it? Out on the balcony of her penthouse suite? Get the maid to do it? At the day centre (for homeless people here) there is one washing machine, which doesn’t work very well (my next project) and one volunteer who launders All The Things. And who prioritises towels, because the people who come to the day centre DEFINITELY need to shower. They need clean clothes, too, but REALLY to shower, and…well…they just need a lot, and the resources aren’t there.

He was also offended by the group who congregate around Jenny, and said that sometimes “as many as seven” people are loitering in the car park with her. Well, that’s true. There are at LEAST seven, who come and go:

Gabriel – her fiance -a Polish mountain man recovering from life-changing injuries. He has eclectic music taste, complex medical needs, and thinks he looks like Jason Statham.

Beki – who is back on the streets having been in a hostel where the staff cared so little, someone hung themself. She freaked out and moved back, because she feels safer with Jenny. Sad to say, she probably is. She’s loud and lairy and fun and sweet and scatty and has complex medical and mental health needs.

Addie – absolutely the toughest guy I have ever met, but with twinkly blue eyes and a ready smile.

Jodie – whose hair might be any colour of the rainbow, who loves Hello Kitty, and is sweet as can be, but with a story to break your heart.

Kevin – light-fingered, hilarious, sweet as can be and really TRYING to make a go of it. He doesn’t do drugs or drink, and wants to stay out of prison and find a way forwards in life. He’s hilarious and a total wind-up merchant, but with a heart of gold.

Lisa – Kevin’s girlfriend, who seems sweet and funny and (as far as I’m aware) has a hostel place at the moment, which is great.

And me.

Various others, too, but those are the people I see there most. And I’m SO HAPPY to know them all, and to know that in my heart, they are part of my Village. They matter to me and I’m delighted that they have accepted me and brought me into their group. Gabriel even calls me “sister”, which is lovely.

So I HOPE he saw me there, that taxi driver, and I HOPE that I got inadvertently referenced as one of these messy, disgusting people who clutters up the city’s ancient monuments, and I HOPE that somehow, some way, this article can be a launch-pad for compassion, because I’m going to write to the paper – to ALL the papers, and refute the callousness of this article; I am going to condemn its lack of compassion and I am going to IMPLORE people to realise that the ‘homeless’ who are making a mess of their beloved architecture are a) PEOPLE, and b) WOULD NOT BE THERE if there was another way.

And I’m going to ask them to give. Even if it’s just a couple of pounds. Because if they could all stop to value human life in its challenges and instead of judging, and offer a donation of less than the cost of a ticket to park in the damn car-park, then JENNY WOULD HAVE A HOME.

And I would be happy.

I need to reach these people and let them know about The Village, and that one of its people needs them.

THAT’S my next plan.

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30 thoughts on “PROUD to be one of the “seven”

  1. I think so many of us forget that we are just a paycheck or two from living on the streets ourselves. All it takes is a series of unfortunate events and we might find ourselves in the same boat if we didn’t have family or friends willing to assist. I sometimes wonder if the lack of compassion is really a defense mechanism against fear that “there for the grace of God, go I”. It may be easier for people to deny the problem and look down on those in that situation, because that kind of thinking separates them from the possibility that “those people” could ever be “me”. You already know, but I’ll say it again – I really admire you for your compassion, heart, and love – and for not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember my ex always used to say “everyone is only three lost meals from a riot” and I think there’s really something in that – we would ALL be so much more reactive and determined if it was US…but yes – it could well be distancing, or denial, or ‘better than’, but it still stinks and upsets me a lot.

      And thank you…I TRY to walk as good a game as I talk. I know I fail a lot but I know I TRY, so there’s that. And anyway, I can’t not see them, as some can…I see them and they sit like stones in my heart. And I can’t fix them nor help them all, and sometimes that breaks me a bit 😦

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  2. The truth is is I am visually impaired and I get help to survive. If I didn’t have a caring family and government assistance, I would be on the street too. I can totally empathize and I don’t know how people could be so cruel. You are doing such a great thing. You have friends in them and I am sure they are thankful and grateful to have met you,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thankful and grateful to have met them, too – they’re WONDERFUL and so much fun to be around. And people…people can be wicked and it upsets me a lot 😦 I’m glad you have people around you who support you. Financially, there was a time where if I didn’t have family and friends helping, *I* would have been out there…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s horrendous to see how little care is given to people. We complain about the immigrants, we complain about the homeless. God knows how we’d cope if we were the ones running for our lives or trying to find a safe warm bed for our kids.

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  4. Could you be any more amazing? I have often thought that many of us are just one serious illness or family tragedy away from being homeless. We are all brothers and sisters in this.
    You are the kindness that I just can’t be. I can give my money, my stuff, my prayers…but, I have such a hard time giving myself. I’ve worked at our local shelter and always leave such a mess that I can’t help everyone…and, then it takes me a long time before I can even go back.
    But, not you! You’re in the trenches, making a difference and being a true friend to people who need it the most. You make me want to be a better person. xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • You ARE a better person! You give stuff, and that HELPS! Gosh, I’m really no saint, and I don’t have the money and stuff to give, so this is what I CAN do. We all help in different ways and as long as we’re all looking out for each other, it’s all good, right?

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  5. What’s happened to the world to suck away so much of it’s compassion? It seems like everywhere I turn people are blaming the poor, the sick, and the needy for all the ills of society. Maybe when I was younger I saw the world through rose colored glasses, but it seems like cruelty that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago is commonplace, or worse– accepted, today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think the cruelty wasn’t there, in fact I think there were many ways it was worse, but the thing is, it was so much more hidden then, and we the masses just didn’t see it. The more we see it, the more we know, and the more we know, the more we can care and show others to care.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I saw someone at a very nice soup kitchen in Raleigh, acting very strange and one of the girls who knew him said he did not use to be so crazy and that the time in prison did that. Do you think the cops cared what he went through? No, they kicked him out. Creepy. Waiting for a class in Durham, I saw a Hawaiian girl and her boyfriend living in a car next to a facility that fed people. She was very sad and I felt for her because her boyfriend was so far out of it and she was homesick. And this was the winter and pretty cold. It angers me the callousness of those who forget who they are. A bunch of plantation owners with a burning hatred and disregard for the downtrodden.

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