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Monday, March 8, 2010

Homeless people

I helped the food service for homeless people. We had a new female volunteer. People came to our bus and began to make a queue before 5:30 pm. I chose serving bread.

All the food was donated by local shops. A happy surprise! Sydney uni's cafe had offered muffins and other sweet for dessert. Oh, next time, when I go to uni, I'll check which cafe does such a nice job. Other church staff had already put peanut butter, ham, Devon and cheese into roll bread and packed each roll into a bad.

The service began.
First, the people wanted to pick up small pies and roles. Then, they moved on to our table, bread. Ham rolls were the most popular and gone in several minutes. I was told to give one bag(=one bread) per person. If want more, a person must join a queue again. Some Non English Native Speakers could not tell me what they wanted. So, people tried to get it by themselves and I had to stop it. Most people tried to get bread twice or three times. I realized some people kept bread in their own bags. Does it last? I wondered, but I had not got much time to think. Busy.

In my eyes, the people looked not so poor. I wondered some people might be richer than me, a poor artist. Indeed, some of them had good amount of money in passbooks and once they had education, handsome occupations and outstanding skills in society. Why will they not work and prefer to staying on streets? Are they really homeless people? I know some homeless people in the area. They keep silent and sit on a bench all day long in very dirty cloths. I hope I could see them for this service, but they do not come to the bus.

Could be...there are people and people in homeless people...
Unfortunately, I could not see the man who had asked me to come. One guy was so cheerful who happily teased at me, as I had a bit strong American accent. Saying, "It's hard to pick up," he spoke in the mixture of Australian General and Broad. Another man spoke in a beautiful Australian General. Every time when he picked up bread, he courteously addressed me gratefulness. Lastly, he said, "I really appreciate your kindness. Thank you on behalf of others, " to each of us at the end of our service! His sophisticated accent and lexical option mismatching this context impressed me so much. And he kept his own dog. Other staff whispered me, "He was educated." Certainly was. But again, I wondered why he stayed on streets?

Nearly at the end of service, I found a man wanted for a cigarette with "papers" in his hand. Got it! I swiftly found good butts scattered on TownHall. "You're so kind, so kind," he kept telling me. Like a child got a toy, he happily made two butts into one cigarette and enjoyed it. Oh, clever and...you make Australia clean! I thought.

After the service, we had a discussion. Most service users were male. A few females. Several Non English Speakers had a talk with the staff over Christianity. Our bus has a mark of "Salvation Army," so, people mistook us for Salvation Army. But indeed, the small local church runs this service. One of us, a counselor had to listen to a man's loooooong talk during the service. Another staff talked of a man, Eastern Europe origin, who chested off about his broken up marriage and miserable life. Regarding the strategy to people's dash to food, we agreed to make it clear to service users that once at time in a queue. We want to provide the service for people "equally" and as many as possible.

I made two cartoons. One is, in fact, based on me. I often make a "dramatic farewell" to small coins and win a good laugh at supermarkets. (*I believe we need laughter! in a busy society.) Another is from the man's episode above.
(**Friends, if you have a difficulty to read words, please click the cartoons. You can enlarge them.)

I know money circulates in society....
Only the problem is it always avoids me?!





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