Project 365 – 5th Mar 2010

Posted: March 5, 2010 in Project 365
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Day 33 – Bless the Broken Road

You could walk almost any Sydney street, or the streets of any major city and you will find one constant, the homeless. The annoying, dirty, sometimes mentally ill, guilt-inducing scourge on society. Or so we would articulate if it wasn’t politically incorrect? It seems to be an endless vicious circle to which no city has ever offered a workable solution. Some say fund more shelters, some soup kitchens, even more proclaim you need to “teach a man to fish, not give him the fish”. I don’t know about that, I mean maybe give him a fishing rod at least!

But something you probably wouldn’t know is that people who do not have shelter are called house-less. Homeless people are actually defined as people with “An inadequate experience of connectedness with family and or community” (Dominic Mapstone). And it’s true. Who do they have? Obviously not friends or family or they would not be on the streets. Who knows what kind of people they are, where they come from, what kind of situations they have faced in life? Not the ‘normal’ community, who pass by daily, sometimes offering money, sometimes not, but almost always avoiding eye contact.

I found myself at Town Hall this morning with about 20 of my classmates, sent to roam the city in order to find enlightenment in the field of street photography and take pictures of what catches our attention. A little after 10 a.m. I came across this guy, sitting on the pavement, drinking an undisclosed beverage out of a paper bag. I politely asked him would he mind if I took his picture and, to my surprise, he said no problem and started posing with his cigarette!

A few hours later when the class reconvened the lecturer saw my photo and asked me to tell the class how I went about taking the picture. I said I just asked and the guy was very accommodating, quite in contrast to my experience a little while later at Paddy’s Markets. He responded that maybe this guy was happy for someone to talk to him, someone to notice him even and honestly, I had never thought about it like that before.

Building shelters costs money, education costs educators, curing the mentally ill costs a lot more than what can be monetarily defined. Talking to someone costs nothing, even a few words, hello or hi. But how we can brighten someone’s day. Not only the homeless, but the elderly, the depressed, and the list goes on. Reaching out can be worth more to someone than you’ll ever know, we’re all human and have the same insecurities, worries and pain, but being alone isn’t something that we should add to it all.

Quote of the day: “Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway”

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