At the opening of my radio program on Sunday night, July 20 I lit a candle in memory of the victims of Malaysian flight MH17. I invited listeners to, in solidarity with me and victims, light a candle too and post a photo, like mine on Facebook.
It was truly humbling to witness all the beautiful candles that were lit that night.
The last couple of weeks have seen some pretty cold and rainy nights. Nights when most of us are glad to have a nice warm bed to go home to. It is particularly at times like these I like to spend the nights wandering the streets looking for homeless people. It also gives me an idea of the numbers of homeless people sleeping out in our great city.
What particularly strikes me is how publicly all this homelessness is happening nowadays. Many of us would regularly walk past homeless people sleeping in their makeshift shelters and probably hardly give it a second thought. It’s becoming so common now we’re probably inured against it.
But it is the homeless kids that this time have interested me most. Now, I know in today’s world, the line between “homelessness” and “not homeless” children is blurred. Many disaffected kids are in and out of “home” sleeping there sometimes and other places next. Nevertheless, technically they would be regarded as “homeless”.
What I have noticed with these kids is how public this all is happening as well. I often find groups of them congregating outside McDonalds, KFC or Hungry Jacks or other public locations where patrons and staff must notice them all the time. If I had to describe these kids I would describe them as a) constant eating, b) constant movement and c) constant hope.
I find these homeless kids regard the group they are involved with as more supportive and affectionate than their own families. In a way they treat each other like brothers and sisters. However, really, each is a “family” grouping by default. It’s sad to think they feel safer and more comfortable with their other homeless and disaffected brothers and sisters than they do with their own families.
Therein lies a tale, I’m sure!
It’s the constant hope that drags me in. You and I know without significant intervention these kids lives go nowhere and end in tears. I wish I could take them all in but I can’t. However it’s left me wondering whether those very businesses around which these kids tend to congregate couldn’t do more to help them than they do. Perhaps they have never thought of it. Australia is such a wonderful country and we, and those who live in it, have such potential it’s such a shame so much of it is lost.