Listen to my audioblog or read it below, your choice.
Once a month on Monday night I glimpse the pain of free prisoners as I walk among them. My presence initially makes them nervous and they hide in the shadows or turn down another street, little do they know that I’m nervous too. An unfamiliar face is hard to trust when exploitation is familiar. They reside in the same location day after day, living in a community they created, yet they have no homes.
I hand out food, water, clothes, and hygiene kits. It feels like I’m handing out band-aids on a battlefield to treat wounds that are deep and complicated. Will it do any good? Next month I’ll come back and hand out food and water, clothes and hygiene kits again, while their neglected wounds develop emotional gangrene. It’s sobering and discouraging walking the battlefield as an untrained medic without skills to truly address their wounds. We always talk with them about resources that are available to them, places they can go to access better care. Some sincerely want to leave the streets, but they all remain.