Another lovely trail run yesterday. On the way back I ran in to an older gentleman bringing what appeared to be a cart filled with groceries in. He greets me with a “Good Evening” and heads deeper in to the forest. Soon a voice that sounded like a teenage boy called out “Pa!” And he called back to them “I’m coming. I’ll be there in a minute.”
I know a number of folks are living in the valley in the summers. At night sometimes you can see their fires. I think I would find it preferable to sleeping on the streets given the choice.
13 thoughts on “Running in Someone’s Home?”
What is the reason for people living in the open during Summers? Is it for adventure? Or any other reason?
Mostly it is due to homelessness. The choices are to sleep on the street or go in a shelter. Shelters are crowded, dangerous (especially during the pandemic) and theft is common. I remember one person telling a story of how he always slept with his shoes on because if he didn’t they’d be gone when he woke. So sleeping in a tent, having privacy and relative peace and quiet is often preferable. On the other hand you’re often farther from necessities like places to get food / support. So it’s not for everyone.
Hmm….homelessness in the west especially in the US and in also Canada (seen from your posts, this and earlier) always throws me off the hook a little, as I would consider these places to be relatively prosperous. At the same time, it makes me think of the cold weather conditions and things like that and wonder how difficult it must be.
Yes – it’s strange to me as well. Many are doing *so* well while others are struggling. 1 in 8 households has experienced food insecurity in Canada in the past year. And others (embarrassingly I include myself in this one) have had so much food in the fridge that some goes bad before it can be eaten.
I know some are cynical and assume they’re in that situation because of their own failures, addiction or laziness being cited often. Others don’t know what to do and worry that giving money will fund an addiction instead of buying a meal. So lots of people struggle to find ways to help that they feel will make a positive difference. In India many friends of mine respond to panhandling with offers to go get them food. Some here do that but not I don’t see it very often. I think we think we’re too busy. (And to be fair, there are far fewer quick food stalls nearby most places). Other people I know go above and beyond, collecting things like warm clothing and gift cards for cafes to hand out on cold nights directly to people.
But how do people end up homeless? That’s a whole different conversation that points to other failures in our culture – broken and abusive families, a mental health system that doesn’t do a great job of serving people and a social safety net that, while reasonably good, still lets many people fall through.
I know Todd, this is can an elaborate topic with all it’s angles. You mention about your friends in India who offer to buy food, I have done the same but very often the people will not take the food, they only want money. In some cases a big racket is involved, where goons make these people beg on the streets. I also find it difficult to decide how to help, what would be the best way. And I have been on the same boat as you with more than enough food even through the pandemic.
The same is true here. Not the racket aspect of it, but definitely asking for money instead of food. I’d say here, most of the time food is appreciated. Often I will give gift cards for grocery stores or restaurants/cafes as well. Nine times out of ten they seem glad to have it. I imagine it must be quite difficult for many people in that situation here now, though. I don’t know how it is in India but cash is almost never used now given how much it is handled. Everything is paid for online or even e-transfer by email. I rarely had cash before but now I have it even less. I think the last time I had actual cash on hand was February.
A lot is done through digital money now in India. Especially with people like us hardly use cash but we still do keep a certain amount of cash with us as many still do not do digital transactions, like the roadside vendor selling vegetables (some of them do, not all). With homeless people, definitely it’s cash. Digital money will not work with them at all.
Right – same is true here. We have fewer roadside stalls and more places accept cards, but there are still places where cash is necessary. Or at least pre-pandemic that was the case. But always there are people who can’t do anything but cash because in order to have digital money you need enough that you have a few dollars to leave in the bank every day. That’s not true for too many.
A life so different. I am listening to Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. The lives of people without money or security of an sort seems the same for all times and for all places.
So true – the challenges might be different in specifics – today it’s one disease, 100 years ago it was another. And hunger’s ever present across time and place.
The thing that I keep getting stuck on is that regardless of time or place, so much of it is left to accident. If you’re accidentally born to a wealthy and/or stable family then everything can go well. If you’re not, it goes poorly. But if you’re wealthy and bad luck hits (or bad habits) you could lose it all. Likewise, one lucky break and everything could turn around. Little accidents shape our lives so completely. Without one big one of these that seemed negative at the time – being unable to finish university, I would never have met Sage and every bit of life post-1991 would be 100% different.
But the great thing is – we can try every day to be a little positive accident in someone else’s life.
Yes Todd, what you say is correct.
I was thinking of your reply Todd and I remembered my grandfather. He was growing up in early 20th century. He had to discontinue after primary school because there was no high school in his village. Life went on for some time. Then his father and uncles incurred loss in their areca plantation. His father moved to the nearby city. At the age of 17, much older than his classmates my grandfather joined high school and went on to complete BA honours, became a teacher then headmaster. He gave my father and uncle good education. His daughters too got educated. He used to say if his father had not lost the property and gone to the city, he would not have studied further.
I really love that story. Thanks for sharing it. We very often have no idea the meaning of the “bad” things that happen to us. That’s a perfect example of that.