5:00 a.m. I woke up at the girl’s apartment. I get ready to leave and give her a kiss on the way out while she’s sleeping. Today I will be building the tent and cover of the mega camp.
6:15 a.m. I park my car near the entrance to the forest where the mega camp will be built. I hang out in the truck for a little while waiting for daybreak.
7:00 a.m. The sun is coming out and I trek out into the woods where my gear is stashed. I throw the heavy tent on my back. I hike out to the location of the mega camp. I spend the rest of the morning and some of the afternoon building the biggest structure I’ve ever built, and the beauty of it is it’s my home, my project. I’ve built for others. Now I finally built something for myself.
3:00 p.m. I ate lunch at Market Basket. A friend of mine runs a homeless shelter in Lawrence. I have been meaning to visit him, and I decided that I’ll take a ride out there to see him.
4:30 p.m. I arrived in Lawrence after driving through a lot of traffic. I parked my car down the street from the shelter and I walked over to what looks like 4 double wide trailers pressed together into one building. My friend who is the director of this homeless shelter is a great friend and a great human being. As soon as I walk in the shelter I see people watching TV and hanging around. There’s a really good vibe and I can see that this shelter is run properly. I meet up with my friend in the kitchen and we begin to talk about different aspects of addiction treatment and homeless services.
Y’all might know I talk a lot of s*** about the system, and a lot of the people that get paid money and do s*** work. But this isn’t always the case, this shelter and my friend are the good ones doing good work. That’s what I want to see everywhere. I want there to be equitable services everywhere in Massachusetts, that rectifies the amount of public and private monies spent to keep our communities healthy and safe from the ravages of drugs and poverty.
6:00 p.m. After hanging out at the shelter with Mike for a while I decided to ride over to the bus station in Lawrence where another charitable group called The movement family does a dinner every Wednesday night. When I get to the bus station no one’s there, the event starts at 8:00 p.m. I’ve been talking to the girl, and she wants me to stop by and spend the night. I think to myself that I don’t want to sit and wait a couple hours for this event although it’s important. I can always come back another Wednesday. Instead of waiting, I decided to feed my heart and my body with the warmth of romance. People criticize me for not doing homelessness right. I’m criticized for driving, and criticized for spending time with women, I’m criticized for being happy, I’m criticized for having some money saved. I had no idea what this experience would be like. Up to this point I have learned how to live comfortably off of social resources, and I’ve learned how to sleep and hide comfortably in the woods. By combining these two aspects of natural and social resources I’ve learned about a lifestyle that is both healthy and manageable. All people that are homeless do the best they can with the resources available to them. I believe the suffering of homelessness comes from shame, addiction, mental illness, and the lack of survival skills and/or resources. I believe a lot of the struggles homeless people experience could be easily remedied by understanding how to help them live more comfortable and manageable lives. We may not be able to force people to behave the way that “normal” Society thinks everyone should behave. You can’t just tell people to stop drinking, stop using drugs, stop having a mental illness, get a job, stop living outside in a tent. But at this point I am confident that I could improve the quality of life of all the homeless people living outside in Massachusetts with what I’ve learned. And this is still just the beginning. I will be learning much more.