The start of winter and it’s raining cats and dogs. For some, winter means this – a night in around a blazing fire with the latest best seller, a bowl of hot soup, a movie on DSTV or perhaps tucked up in bed with a loved one. These are the choices we have and ones we take for granted.
So what if you don’t have the choices? What if the blazing fire is in an old oil drum and being tucked up in bed means a makeshift bed out of cardboard under a bridge, in a dark alleyway, or even a doorway? Sleeping rough and hidden from sight – these are the realities of street life. For those who have made it into a shelter and abided by the rules, now have the privileges of a place inside. The ‘Haven’ or one of the other 21 shelters in and around Cape Town.
The overstretched shelters are perhaps the only lifeline that these people have. It is hope that is needed for a person less fortunate than us, to find a job and gain the self-esteem and self-respect they need. It’s a fact of life – yours, mine and theirs. We all need respect! So when the reality presented itself to me through a post on FB, I asked if I could buzz the back streets and bring to you, the reader, certain awareness.
En route to the Sunbird Bistro to meet up with people I did not know, I asked myself if in such awful weather conditions would anybody be there? Would it be cancelled? How absurd was this? Of course they will be there! This was just the kind of night needed for a plan of action to be put into motion.
The blanket run started at 5.30pm on Monday evening, we travelled in convoy from Camps Bay to Green Point. Our first stop was in the car park behind Pick n’ Pay. We gave out blankets, soup, hotdogs and socks. It took very little to make these people happy. After all, when a person has nothing, anything will do.
We moved onto Green Point and found more hungry faces. It was overwhelming just how many people live on the streets. The grateful smiles even the toothless ones, were real. The banter and comments were simply the best – they were spontaneous and funny ‘Hello young man, will you marry me?’
Arriving at our last drop off for the night was under a bridge at the ‘Haven’ we found it deserted, until one word was mentioned; ‘FOOD’ and out the shadows of the night came the highway men and women.
How grateful everyone was, myself included, to have shared and helped a team of likeminded people. Once you go down this road, you don’t give up! So let’s do it together. There’s no turning your back.
Join us on FB in ‘Dare to Share’ and ‘The Blanket Fund’ and experience the next encounter of the third kind in the back streets of Cape Town.
Photos through the Sony eye and FB