Yesterday, I was searching around for a Critique of Neale Donald Walsch after watching the DVD “Conversations with God” – I have already read all three books of his Conversations with God series and whilst it didn’t present to me any new and revealing ideas about life, god and living in general, it did act as a reminder of the ones I already have. I have known about Book 1 for almost as long as it’s been out but never picked it up as I considered it would be too light reading for my tastes at the time. I was into ‘hardcore’ spiritual stuff but these days, I don’t have as much time to sit and read, so I am choosing books <400 pages in length for the time bein as a general rule of thumb. I will say that I found book three to be most interesting to me as it presented some ideas on economic and financial systems that could be used as micro and macro economical models. It also drove home to me for some reason what it can be like when you live on ‘the outside’, which makes me always think of Charles Bukowski’s semi-biographical novel “Postoffice” when he leaves the Postal Service and suddenly he’s on ‘the outside’.
So back to being ‘on the outside’ – The issue of homeless people has really been sticking in my mind lately. Once you are on the streets, and you have no phone, no address, no clean clothes etc and worst of all, once you have it in your mind “this is what I am” and you begin to look invisible to the thousands of people who walk past you each day without a thought (or maybe we do??), how do you get out of it? How do you change your mind about who and what you are, first of all because that is the biggest challenge of them all.
I had an experience on Friday night where I did ‘a bit more’ than usual for a homeless guy and I saw the look in the guys eyes and he reached out to shake my hand. He wasn’t an alcoholic, a drug user or visibly mentally ill. It was raining in Sydney, it was about 10pm and he had no shoes and was probably mid to late 30’s. All I have thought since then is that I didn’t do enough, that I could have done more. I have told myself, it’s a start. I’m sure Mother Theresa even questioned her own efforts at times.
If this kind of thing interests you, be sure to check out these links:
Street Kids in India run their own Bank
54 Ways you can help the homeless
Homeless.org.au and forums.homeless.org.au – A Sydney based home for the homeless run by a 31yo guy from Brisbane, which seems to have been originally self-funded. Some great stuff there.
The Homeless Guy Blog
GrandCentral – Project Care program – A phone number for everyone – I can think of a mini way of doing this in Australia using Oztell’s WebPABX or using Asterisk and using extension numbers with mailboxes where people can give out their phone number and their extension. They can collect their voicemail via a phone or have the messages emailed to them. You would just need one DID.
Obviously, a man living on the street in Australia has an experience far different to a child living on the street of South America, India or Africa. Here’s an NGO organisation in Peru started by a husband and wife in 2001 called BrucePeru – youtube video below. You can volunteer there starting at $395 US per month, including all your meals and accommodation. Prices decline depending on your length of stay.
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