Last night we had a new roommate arrive, he promptly left & spent all night in a strip club before returning in the morning. He’s a mid 50’s American who has to travel for business, he tells his wife he stays in Hotels & will call her from one the 1st night & then spends the rest of the time staying at hostels. Why hostels you ask? I didn’t but he’d enlighten me anyway, the extra money is for strippers & chasing tail (I opted for a different choice of words), oh & hostels are full of lots of young drunk *****
… Ladies & Gentlemen I present to you the nomination for the trips most seediest individual.
I’ve been asked a bit lately about the safety of hanging out & talking to houseless people, 90% of the time I’ve felt safe. There was one instance I didn’t & I left & that wasn’t due to houseless people but a group of others in that area.
What’s felt more unsafe to me is the random dude selling coke, or sitting at a bar having dinner & the business woman whose next to you slips you her hotel key-card… that’s felt more unsafe than hanging-out with people without houses.
Anyway it’s my last day & I’ve found out about two places I should get to, one is just out of Chinatown, the other is a “tent city” in Waianae. Waianae proves to be too far away for me as I don’t have the coin for a cab ($80-100 each way) or car hire, or the time to bus… finding out about this place too late & not being able to make it, would prove to be my greatest disappointment of my time in Hawaii.
So I manage a quick visit to Chinatown & some of the surrounding areas. It’s strange to see empty basketball courts & abandoned playgrounds… & streets lined with tents.
I say goodbye to the “Houseless crew”, the group closest to me, where it all started I guess. A couple are drunk & don’t know who I am. Mark, who has never said much to me, thanks me & gives me a Hawaii bracelet (I’m not “convinced” it was purchased) I’ll wear it all the same.
…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped
and these guys certainly live in the shadows. Mark was assaulted last night and his face is cut, bruised & swollen, he was asleep when it started, he had no possessions, money, or drugs…
he had no one.
We can’t blame our government for not looking after those in the ‘shadows’. When we can walk by without making eye contact, offering a hello or a smile…
Is life really too busy to take 2 seconds to acknowledge someone else’s humanity?
Someone once said,
Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest
We have a way to go.
Hawaii Looking Back: Hawaii didn’t workout as planed…
but it couldn’t have worked out better. Sure I spent a whole lot less time on the beach & in the water than I would have liked but I got to meet some amazing people, I’ve met some from different walks of life, who I could live a million lifetimes & not rub shoulders with. My life is richer for it.
I wish I could have had another day here & made it to Waianae.
It’s been cool to see God at work, it’s been cool to see the difference a little love & kindness can make in someones life. Walking back to the Hostel one last time, I run into a guy I’d spent a bit of time with, he proudly tells me he’s been sober for a day.
It’s the first time in 15yrs.
We never had conversations about it…we barely had conversations, I just sat & listened.
Of all the things we have to give others, I think ‘time’ is the hardest to give.
I’m off to the airport, see you in San Francisco.
- The Other Side of Paradise: Inside Hawaii’s Giant Homeless Community (BusinessInsider.com)