Monday, 8 December 2014

London Spiritual Events & Socials - Homeless Walk 4th December

Another eventful homeless walk with our group last week and my day started a little earlier as I was meeting my friend Michelle to visit a few exhibitions prior to the walk. I left home with a few dog bones which I had purchased ready for our xmas pressie drop in a few weeks time. Our four legged friends need treats too. I am a little like an excited kid, unable to wait until xmas to open my pressies so the temptation to wait a few weeks was too much for me so a few bones were packed ready to go.

I was so pleased to find the lovely lady with her large dog in her usual spot near Euston as one of those bones was intended for this big fella. He has recently protected his owner when she was attacked by a crazed passer by a few weeks ago and he is usually such a gentle giant. He excitedly greeted me and I gave the bone to his owner to give to him. He came over to me as if to thank me which was so sweet. She said he can get a little food possessive so she would give it to him later that evening when she went to the hostel.

Chloe, Alice, Carmen, Michelle, Ivan, Odette, Eva, Polina and Marta

New member Alice was first to arrive with a huge bag of tshirts, jeans and many more items closely followed by Lee, a new member dropping off 2 massive bags of hats, gloves and scarves, including seriously warm and trendy hats with built in ear muffs and gloves.

I was a little disappointed that we had 3 no shows and a large waiting list of people who would have like to join us for the walk. Such a shame really and hard to understand.

It was a tough one for us the walkers, with the rain and cold chill to the air. Tough for us being out for 3 hours or so, it is beyond apprehension how homeless people cope with being out there for entire days, weeks, months or even years. It is no wonder that the average life expectancy of a homeless person is 47 and even lower for homeless women at just 43, compared to 77 for the general population. This statistic is crazy ! but true !

My boots got soaked through and to say I was nackered at the end would be an understatement.  It was a slow start as our homeless friends were well hidden, taking cover from the rain but we eventually connected with many of them near the night shelter.

We had a great group of walkers on the night, all with huge hearts, matched by huge bags of goods to offer on the night.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us to help spread some love and kindness on the streets of London on a cold and wet wintry night.

Thank goodness we all have lovely warm homes to head back to rather than a cold and wet pavement, or a hostel for those who have access to one, where one can only enter after 9pm if they are referred to then be turfed out back on to the streets at 7am. No early night ! however tired they may feel, No late lie in the next day and for the whole cycle to continue the next day ! Wow, what a life, not an easy one.

This is how people, people like you and I are living ! It is truly shameful that in this day and age, in this rich, non third world country our fellow human beings are being subjected to living in these conditions.

That's it from me and we have one more walk to come this year, which is our Xmas Pressie walk where we hope to offer some Xmas cheer to our street friends. Thanks to some really kind people who have dropped off donations of items all ready for wrapping which we will hand out on 17th December.

Hope to see some of you then.

We will be keeping the walk small in numbers once more but if you wish to drop off a pressie, then message me via our meetup group and I will give you the details of where, when and what to drop off on the night.

Leaving you with a huge thank you for supporting our endeavours to make a difference on the streets of London.

Love, Peace and Blessings

Team London Spiritual Events & Socials

Odette & Marta XXXXXX

PS I have just added Gong Bath Meditations to my healing work so if you fancy a personal gong bath combined with an Energy Healing treatment in the New Year, come on over to North London to Healing with Odette

One of our members and regular homeless walk helpers, Carmen has very kindly shared her incredible and beautiful words with us once more where she will transport you back in time to the evening of our last homeless walk.


Quite a depressing evening to be setting out in pursuit of the homeless. Wet and miserable weather and seemingly few rough sleepers about. Apart from the sad sight of the young couple whom we'd met several weeks ago, fresh from Scotland looking for a new life, still huddled in a doorway, there were very few along the Charing Cross Road, the first stretch of our route; only one homeless young man that we could see around Covent Garden, and he declined our offers; no big group of men assembled beneath the arches like last week; no dog owners either - disappointing for Odette who'd brought along a couple of dog bones as treats. Lee had earlier dropped off a large bag of newly purchased ear flap hats, scarves and gloves that must have cost him a small fortune. So generous! The remaining nine of us had our usual bulging bags and rucksacks of donated stuff. There is, however, one location where the homeless always congregate, whatever the circumstances. We found them on their usual corner, one woman among the crowd of men, queuing quietly for welcoming cups of hot soup being doled out by a small group of Asians. We opened up our bags and cases and were soon flocked by a motley assortment in widely varying degrees of cleanliness and desperation for clothes and the tea that Marta was furiously pumping from the two urns. Among them, our smiling cockney geezer in the dark shades who usually stands in the doorway of a bank, strolled up and enquired 'Wot you got?' He was delighted when I presented him with a spectacle case (thank you Anthea!) for his precious glasses. Equally pleased, was a young man without even a coat, who yelped with happiness when he received a new cosy ear flap hat. Next stop was the hostel where we met Bohdan the Polish scaffolder sitting patiently on the steps. Indicating his impeccable attire, he said proudly, "Not every homeless person has to look dirty. I take care to keep myself clean." University educated, Bohdan worked continuously for 4.5 years until he was laid off. The timing could not have been more unfortunate, coinciding with the government changing the eligibility rules on housing benefit. You now have to be working in the UK for 5 years. Unable to find work, but continually looking, Bohdan now finds himself sleeping at the hostel. We found 'Alfie' (a lady from Coventry bestowed him this name as no-one could pronuonce his real name) curled up asleep in corner below a dripping ledge. When I woke him up he said he didn't want anything, but we persuaded him to have one of Lee's cosy flap hats and Polina's friend helped me lay a waterproof sheet over his damp grubby white blanket. When Odette offered him a pair of hiking boots to replace his trampled shoes, he pointed to his withered left hand. He'd suffered a stroke and was paralysed down one side so heavy boots would be a difficulty. When I offered him chocolate, he looked at me with sad eyes and refused, making the connection with his three children left behind in Sudan. He said he didn't know whether they were starving or dead. By now, there was a small crowd forming in front of the hostel in anticipation of the doors opening. We met our usuals - the Irish guy still hoping for housing; the proud English guy, looking a little tattier from last time, who 'refuses' to beg; and Angela the artist with her wire trolley of personal possessions. We also met another two of the few women visible on the streets: one, a trendy-looking young Japanese girl who suddenly found herself clutching a Sainsbury's Life carrier bag full of clothes; and an older African lady who picked out a hat, bag and scarf, but several minutes later, the bag and scarf sailed through the air before catching on the railings. The Irish guy rolled his eyes. Mental health problems, he indicated. To be honest, I was cold, exhausted (a long week) and a little despondent out there, but at least I had a cosy bed to go home to. The sight that cheered me, however, among that group of life's unfortunates was seeing, dotted among them, the young and old, firm and infirm, jostling towards the hostel, wearing one of those identical lovely warm ear flap hats. Enough to warm your cockles.

Thanks to Carmen Harris

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