Monday, March 16, 2009

Philly Part 2-Weary feet

Day 2:

Monday morning we did Philly Explore. We drove over to the parkway between the art museum and town hall. About 10am we split up into groups of 3. Our task was a scavenger hunt of sorts. For the next four hours we would need to visit several destinations, answer a list of questions, talk to locals, and homeless alike

and we were each individually given a dollar to figure out lunch. Nothing more did we carry except the coats we wore, and a dollar in our pocket. Well I also had a pocket knife, and my Bible in a cargo pocket on my camos.

So me Brooke, and Kellar set out on the streets of Philly. First we stopped at a Basilica, the largest church I've ever walked into. The catholic church had some king of big meeting there years ago. After talking with a volunteer inside, and spending a few minutes praying we departed. The church was beautiful, laden with gold, murals everywhere.

We then headed toward the hotels because we needed to find out what the most expensive hotel room in Philadelphia is. At the Four Seasons hotel, you can stay in the presidential suite for over $5,000 a night, furnished with a baby grand piano, and a pool table. We asked to see the room, but it was occupied. Staying 3 nights at that price, you could buy someone a brand new car.

Later on we doubled back, and arrived at Logan's circle. We talked to one lady from Toronto about the homeless situation in Philly. Toronto stated that "The problem is that many of the homeless don't want to be helped. Some of them also have psychological problems." After leaving her to go on her way, we walk to the other side of the empty fountain, and found two guys sitting on one of the benches. Spotting a Bible we walked up.

Will as it turned out was from out west, his friend Tim, he'd known since being a kid. Both were homeless. For an hour we talked to Will and Tim, eventually sitting down on the gravel at their feet to continue listening as they shared their stories, and their daily life. Through our humbleness, we became brothers with them.

Will and Tim go from day to day, taking care of theirselves, by getting clean clothes and a shower at a nearby shelter, and eating when they need to. During a "Code Blue" when the temperature drops below freezing, officials come by and move all of the homeless people indoors regardless until the temperature rises back up.

Will and Tim fare well by making many friends, and by passing and receiving information by word of mouth. By doing that, they learn of the shelters, and when and where help can be received.

We shared with them of how we were seeking to learn more about the homeless situation. We also shared how we only carried a dollar and needed to find a way to eat off of that.

"They only gave you a dollar? The homeless people have more money than that to eat with!"

They then walked us 6 blocks away to St. Johns, a hospice shelter that serves meals. We couldn't eat as a group however, because St. John's only feeds men, which meant Brooke couldn't eat with us. Along the way we met, RaRa, a former homeless bully, who would take from the other homeless people. Will informed us that in the past year RaRa had drastically changed; still homeless but no longer bullying people. We then parted with Tim and Will, and following their advice, headed two blocks south, to a popular square and proceeded to ask for money to eat with.

I tried walking up to a guy, and began the conversation by asking if he was from Philly.

"No, I'm eating. GO AWAY!!" He then hurried off, food in hands.

The city of brotherly love.

Kellar found better luck gaining a dollar from another fellow. We gained 3 more from a couple, after sharing our stories as a group. We approached them after noticing them putting a few ones in their pockets, something Will and Tim taught us to look for. With $7 we then went to McDonald's and each got a double cheese burger and an apple pie off the dollar menu. With the rest, we bought a burger and a pie we gave out to a homeless person sitting on a bench who had no lunch.

And so we walked a mile in the shoes of the homeless.

Will and Tim, thank you for accepting us as your own. Thank you also for being willing to give us a few dollars. We look forward to being rejoined with you in the coming kingdom, when we all will be rich beyond compare.

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