12 Mar Skip your Lunch Friday
My friend in Sweden is starting a movement. Skip your lunch Friday – to feed the homeless. Oddly we both found it hard to find homeless people to give our lunch to, him in sweden and me in berlin. However we both had good experience participating. This is Dagems story –
Yo what a trip…I went out today looking for someone to help and did not find anyone for the first hour I was out!!!! Man Stockholm is a trip. I started in Skanstull and walked up Götgatan (the main street in the södermalm island) looking through alleys and stairways for anyone that looked like they were suffering and there was no one in sight. So I kept walking. I went to the different areas that I have normally seen the Homeless at and still no one…then finally I found a guy selling the magazine “Situation.”
“Situation” is a government funded project that enables the Homeless (that are clean from drugs) a legitimate way to make an income…the project sells the magazine to them for 20 sek (about 3 dollars) and the Homeless sell it for 40 sek (about 6 dollars). So I stopped to talk to him and see how sales were and he said not so good. Then I asked him if he was hungry and if he could use a meal and he said no. I said cool and bought a magazine from him.
Then I kept walking. Finally, after an hour of walking around from skanstull to centralen and back, I saw three people looking a bit roughed up and drinking some beers in Gamla Stan (Old Town). I went towards them. When I got close one of them asked me if I had a kronor (about 15 cents). I asked if they were hungry. They said yes…so I asked them if they wanted a sandwich. They said yes and I thought to myself Finally! I said what kind of sandwich do you all want…one answered asked for a sandwich with meat in it…so I got them ham and cheese sandwiches from a deli in Gamla Stan and an Orange Vitamin Water. Then we sat and talked for about 20 minutes. Then I had to go to meet a friend!
The experience was a nice experience…it did feel a bit too planned but sometimes I guess it needs to be otherwise I will find an excuse not to do it. Overall the experience was a good one.
We talked about everything from what their lives used to be like, how long they were homeless for, what caused them to be homeless and what its like for them to be homeless. One had been homeless for 3 years after getting released from prison and not being able to adjust; another became homeless because he came from England last October and couldn’t find a place to live and he also couldn’t find any work; and the third was like a little kid with ADHD…she couldn’t get herself to sit still and particpate in the conversation, so I couldn’t try to talk to her and find out 😛
Anyways for the most part they were homeless in Stockholm because they had issues within themselves that they couldn’t deal with that caused them to not follow the requirements to get the support that was available. I didn’t care though because today wasn’t about judging it was just about being loving to someone that needed the love.
Anyways, It was funny how everyone looked at us. We were standing right outside of Gamla Stan’s subway station…Gamla Stan is a touristy spot with a lot of pedestrian traffic. I noticed that it was difficult for people to make eye contact. When I was leaving one of the guys gave me a hug and said that I was a very nice person. The whole time I could see that they enjoyed the conversation…I left being aware also that none of them asked me for any money which helped me leave there feeling like the food and the conversation was enough for them.
On a different tip, the going without also helped me appreciate what it must be like for them. I do want people to know that I sacrificed eating a meal so that someone who was less fortunate than myself didn’t without putting any conditions on them to be a certain way. I really feel like today I practiced a form of unconditional love towards a stranger and it felt so good.
Even though I didn’t eat…”Being kind was food enough for my spirit!” I left there feeling good and feeling like it was definitely worth the effort!