The usual Blenz
Waking up shivering is a scary experience. Right now it is cold and early in the morning. The temperature has dropped considerably the past two nights. It was not bearable, so I quickly gathered all my stuff and left. As I was walking up the streets, I was hoping to find a shopping cart to put my bag in. But until then, my priority is to keep moving and to stay warm. Part of my project was to stay at a shelter for one night. However, the rule I have set out for myself was that I will not be taking the last bed from somebody in need.
There are a lot of shelters here in Vancouver. Shelters are plenty and so is food. These are the two things citizens worry most about, but I think both are abundant. The quantity may be enough, but the same cannot be said about the quality of the shelters or the quality of food available to the poorer community. I guess the saying holds that “beggars can’t be choosers.”
Sergei told me that you can potentially eat like a King on these streets if you have the ability to build good relationships with the store owners or cooks. You can show up to their restaurant at specific hours and they will provide you with their gourmet leftovers which you can eat. All of that certainly depends on how well you can interact with others. If you have a rude or mean-spirited personality, then you are out of luck.
I’m finally starting to reach my normal body temperature again. I was willing to walk ten blocks to get to the 24-hour McDonald’s on Granville Street. The Blenz that I am currently at was much closer than the McDonald’s, so I decided to come here instead. You will often see homeless people warming up at these 24-hour locations during cold winter days. If you spot one, please buy them a hot cup of tea.
Some of the homeless have been living on the streets for many years. Kenneth told me that “a week is just a taste.” And unfortunately for many here, this is life. That is certainly true. I will never get the true and real sense of homelessness, but with my experience now, I will know more than the average person does. I certainly have a new appreciation of what I have and what they go through. And with this blog, my message will be heard by those who choose to listen.
Nobody looks forward to being tossed onto the streets and alleys of Vancouver. Ask yourself, how many of the homeless expected to become homeless themselves? Did they sit around during Elementary/High School/University thinking that they are looking forward to searching through garbage bins for empty cans or sleeping on the side of the streets, alleys and parks while being addicted to drugs while suffering from mental illness?