On this CHOOSEday I am CHOOSing to link my normal type post with a 30 days of thanksgiving post.
Recently I heard about an initiative called Walk the Walk Life on the Streets and since I started following it, it has changed my perception.
I first heard of the initiative from Dene Botha who I follow on Twitter (@DeneBothaSA) and since he is a good looking laddie who skydives naked to save rhinos (check out that vid on his website I thought I would find out what it is all about. And now I can say that I am very grateful that I did.
So basically two guys down in Cape Town Marc Buhrer and Shane McConnachie decided that we as a society are so quick to judge those down on their luck, those who have lost their jobs and beg at the traffic lights, those who have lost everything including their homes and are living on the streets…..jobless, homeless, friendless (so I thought at least) and penniless and they wanted to know the truth.
I don’t know about you but I have become really jaded about the beggars/hobos whatever you want to call them that flock around your car at every traffic light. I have been known to roll up my window when one approaches or to pick up my phone and get busy so I can “ignore” them. I am so ashamed of myself as I write this because in all honesty “There for the grace of God go I”.
My family was literally one meal away from being on the streets. My dad had lost his job and was battling to find one, I was working after school in a pharmacy to cover the costs of my transport to and from school and that of my baby brother. Mom had found a half day job and that was basically keeping us alive. It took seven years but my families’ luck changed and although we are by no means flush we have never gone hungry.
How quickly I had forgotten what it feels like to walk into the green grocer and ask for left over fruit and veg, how quickly I had forgotten what it is like to have your electricity cut off because you can’t pay the bills. How quickly I had forgotten what it is like to look to others for hand me down clothes because I have outgrown mine and we don’t have money to buy new clothes. How quickly…how quickly, I had forgotten the emotional turmoil…
And how quickly I was reminded when I started following Marc and Shane’s journey. They did not do this for publicity or not in the way we would think. I do think that the publicity they have generated has created an awareness and for many like me a shift in perception. For these two men it was a experience in finding solutions and answers to an ever growing problem in this beautiful country of ours.
So on Monday 5 November Marc and Shane took to the streets with nothing more than the clothing on their backs. Their goal was to spend a week living hand to mouth out on the streets of Cape Town. Their journey was documented by Co-Op TV and I want to urge you to watch the video clips and listen to the video diaries of these men. Other than these video recording sessions for the campaign they were on their own, left to fend for themselves. They had to find work or odd jobs, beg for money, beg for food, find shelter to sleep in at night.
Dene Botha joined them for a bit and you can read about his experience on his website: After reading his post about his experience and seeing the various video clips my heart ached. I thought of all the times I had rolled up my window or had thought bad thoughts about those approaching my window for help. How easy it becomes to turn a deaf ear to the cries of the jobless, homeless, friendless and penniless.
Their journey has come to an end but I know that it is only the beginning of the story because I believe that others will CHOOSE to see past the dirty faces and smelly bodies, I believe that others will CHOOSE to find ways to help and I believe that through awareness campaigns like these others will CHOOSE to change lives. I am very grateful for guys like Marc and Shane who are willing to go into the “trenches” to truly experience the life on the streets and to make others like me aware of what it is truly like.
I know that I CHOOSE to not roll up my window, I CHOOSE not pick up my phone and I CHOOSE to make a difference even if it is only with a kind word and a 5 cents coin.
What do you CHOOSE!!!
Day thirteen: I am thankful for the safety and security that comes from having a roof over my head, the electricity in the wall which gives light when night is at its darkest. I am thankful for baths every night and a shower every morning. I am thankful for a fridge full of food and food in my tummy. I am thankful for bathrooms with working plumbing. I am thankful for a warm bed to sleep in. I am thankful for my home.