All week I have been anticipating ‘sleeping rough’ for Lifewise #bigsleepout in Central Auckland. Loaded up with my essentials: (loaned) sleeping bag, beanie, merino gloves, IPhone (to tweet), house keys, ATM card, lipstick and WHORE flyers for potential audience. After registering for the event, we all received personalised cardboard mats and a goodie bag: beanie, Idealog, Special K bar and Merge Cafe voucher. The Whore team scouted an ideal location to settle down, then dinner was on the agenda. Over 100 people lined up for meatballs and spaghetti with a slice of buttered bread: hearty meal. Icecream quickly followed, sponsored by Nice Blocks. We heard great speeches by Lifewise, poetry and an interview with Chanelle who told her story about homelessness, sex work, foster care, mental health admissions and her new job. I was invited into the makeshift cardboard house, shared conversation with many new friends/rough sleepers and was photographed/filmed by random people. Yes – I did sign a media release. The night is chilly, however it’s not raining. There are sleeping bags all over the AUT campus filled with human life. At the time of writing the fundraising figure to (fund) frontline services for homelessness 2014 is $153,357.39! Whore team raised $3,165.00 for Lifewise Big Sleep Out 2014. I am humble. I am grateful. I am cold and slightly hungry, however this is a temporary measure. This experience keeps me real and makes me feel lucky to be alive, with people who care.
A couple of days ago, I donated two bags of groceries to Auckland City Mission.
The very next day I saw an article in the newspaper stating that the food queues outside the Mission were huge and unexpected, as there is still (just under) two weeks to go before #Christmas.
Apparently 250 people are being given food parcels per day.
How does that make you feel?
The thing that gets me the most is child #poverty. Right here in New Zealand, 1 out of 4 children go without their basic needs: staggering.
#poverty is everywhere, maybe next door to you, or down the street.
Just give a little this #Christmas if you can, you’ll be richer for it! #altruism
Homelessness is an epidemic.
I drive past the Auckland City Mission daily, to witness many people sitting outside – waiting to get a bed for the night – or desperate for something to eat.
Most of us have either experienced hard times, with no or little money to get by, however we normally have a sibling, parent, friend or colleague that can help us out.
In Auckland, on the 4th July, a bunch of well-known people (celebrities or influential-types) are ‘sleeping rough’ voluntarily, to get a taste of what it can be like: raise awareness and also fundraise some dosh in the process.
Cold nights, cardboard mattresses, threadbare blankets and everything you own, huddled close.
Do you think about homelessness? Volunteer for a soup kitchen? Sell the Big Issue?
Have you ever thought about what it might be like, to live on the street? You have probably seen people sleeping rough in doorways, or walking with everything they own, on their back. This does make you wonder, what we actually (really) ‘need’ to get by. I have worked, talked and supported the homeless, and never make any judgements. It could happen to you, without warning. I have had a couple of close encounters. The kindness of strangers, made the difference. In the face of adversity, never loose your voice.
“All the world’s a Stage” – William Shakespeare
Hobson Street Theatre Company took the audience on a journey tonight with enlightening and engaging stories about the street, vulnerable lives and the choices we make (Te Ara Ki Te Puawaitanga). We had the opportunity to meet the writers who shared their experience on ‘writing’ with the people that sat before them, who listened intently. Beautiful. Reality that hit us all. I enjoy watching and also writing about things that matter. The truth that is sometimes unbearable to assimilate. Yep. Alcohol. Drugs. Nothing. Could happen to anyone right? I was just listening to Steven Berkoff today, in all his brilliance. Firstly an actor, then a playwright, lastly a director. The order for me, is the reverse to Steven.
So homelessness brings humble thoughts, selflessness and isolation. Then there is Auckland City Mission doing wonderful things to rediscover confidence, respect and values. Humans beings are special, everyone of us.
Looking forward to the next installment later this year!
“I regard theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” – Oscar Wilde