April 26, 2010
While I was tearing myself away from the DTES of Vancouver, I had almost convinced myself that I have learned all I can about homelessness and the shelter industry. What could be so different about the shelters or the homeless population in any of the eastern provinces. The first week in a new place is very stressful. I don't know anyone... I don't know the system (especially in a new province) there is no guarantee that I will have a place to stay or eat. I don't know the city (or have any roughing skills) so I don't know a safe place to pitch my tent for free. Where would I find food if there are no soup kitchens...???? I don't look forward to the moves. So given my affinity for DTES and the abundance of potential job opportunities for social workers... I hope you can understand my temptation to quit Angels of the Road.
The universe, as always, knows best and so provided me with a gentle reminder of why I must continue the journey. On the plane sitting next to me was a lovely woman, well dressed, nice manicure. She is from Nova Scotia and works in manufacturing running some kind of machine. I told her about Angels of the Road and about how much we have learned about homelessness in Canada. Her response was ..."Yes, and it so much worse here in the west."So even if the rest of this journey only provides a variation on an old theme, it is important to complete the tour. If it is, in fact better in the east, we need to know why. Perhaps we can apply some of those techniques to improve the situation in other communities. But, if it is not better... I guess Angels of the Road will just have to bust another myth about homelessness.