So, it’s not long now until i am on the streets for 16 days! I preparing myself. Last night, laying in the comfort of my home, on my nice warm comfortable bed, i had the realization that those comforts would be completely and totally removed for those 16 days; my nice therapeutic mattress exchanged for a piece of cardboard on the cold concrete, my warm team of blankets traded for the one not-so-thick blanket, my safe and secure walls replaced with openness and vulnerability. Yeah…
I was in town today and i came across some of the “kids” i haven’t seen in a while. One of them was Jason. Jason is a perfect example of how the streets suck the kids in, the system messes them around, and how little innocent kids can so easily turn into hardened gangsters! I remember when Jason was a little kid; YEARS ago! He was a sweet, considerate, energetic little guy. I also remember when he witnessed one of his best friends on the streets get run over, and killed, by a Golden Arrow bus as they were trying to cross the M3 one late night (November 2004). Needless to say, that was pretty traumatic for Jason. After that things sort of went downhill for him!
Since then Jason has been in and out of jail. He is basically a hardened criminal. His body is covered in gang tattoos, including his neck and face. Under both eyes he has two tear drops. I remember right after Jason witnessed his friend’s death, one night i came across him in town and he seemed extra traumatized, plus he had a HUGE gash in his foot. I brought him to my house and doctored his foot up with my first aid kit and we spoke about his friend. One of the things that bothered him the most was that his friend died, “like a dog”. He said he cried about it, but he did not want to cry about it anymore. The two tattooed tears that are now forever standing under his eyes are a harsh contrast to the way that he has allowed his heart to harden over the years, probably to cope with the pain of the death of his friend, and other things he has seen in his time on the streets.
I don’t know if this blog really even makes since. I don’t know if i really even have a point. But one thing i know is that it hurts to see “kids” with so much potential, their whole lives before them, years later, with nothing to really show for it but some tattoos, hardened little hearts and a stone cold look in their eyes. This is why i want to catch them before they get to that point! And this is one of the MANY reasons that i think it is child abuse to allow a kid to live on the streets in the first place!
(Photo: Masixoli, Jason’s friend who passed away)