Borrowing a line from a song by Alexis On Fire, the title if written whole would be, that “ This city, this city is haunted, by ghosts from broken homes. This city, this city is haunted, there’s no hope, left for these souls.” The title of this song is also aptly named, “This could be Anywhere in the world’. Seemed like an ordinary hardcore song. However the lyrics remain more poignant than they should be for a song of this nature and is hauntingly striking, if we look beyond our comfort zones.
As we lay on our comfortable beds, in our air conditioned rooms and ponder upon our everyday problems; on how we lack the materialistics, Ipods, PS2’s and how little we earn for so much of work that we do; we ramble on with our personal problems. How trivial are they then compared to those people who struggle with their lives daily, trying to feed themselves with the meek earnings that they have. Only recently have I felt that there are people who need hope, perhaps much more than others, where survival is nothing more than everyday struggle to be fed. In 2005, there is an estimate of at least 100 million homeless people in this world.
I’ve seen homeless children. Orphans. Interacting with them. They are much easier to reach out. Still young and ever eager to see the world.You see, I joined my LF to this outreach called KAWAN located in the heart of the city. It’s a drop-in for the homeless where they are fed. I was invited and I took this chance perhaps to do some ‘charity’. Or so I thought I would. I thought, ‘Hey…I’ve been to an orphanage. How hard can it be? Its gonna be a walk in the park.” When we reached the centre, for the first time, I felt what it is like to live on the streets. I mean I didn’t experience living on the streets, but judging from the conditions of the area where KAWAN is located, its not as easy as I thought. At the point, I knew I was humbled. How arrogant was I into thinking that all is fine. It isn’t.
Many things went through my mind. Were these people hostile? Some of them could have been drug addicts and even perhaps the question of the realities of AIDS arising. It did went through my mind. This is much different from dealing with children. These are people who have gone through so much in life. These are people who are as old as our grandparents. And there are those who are younger. Their hearts hardened and weathered by the harsh living conditions. Poverty, hopelessness seemed an integral part of their lives. And it was at that moment that I decided to try to bring myself to do what I can for these people. We had a praise and worship session .We did some sharing, a skit on the parable of the Prodigal Son, which is perhaps a New Testament classic. It was in Cantonese. We acted it out while Eddy, narrated. It was most fun and encouraging especially when we saw that there are some who have heard of this parable before and giving some feedback. And then there are those who are weary from a days work of survival and just waiting for the food. When dinner was served, we took the opportunity to mingle with the crowd. It wasn’t easy, well at least for me, as I tried to choose a common topic to talk about. And when I did, I learnt that these folks have much to tell, and have much to let out. About lessons in life, and how not to stray onto the wrong path. And when it was time to leave, we say our goodbyes and vowed to come back soon. My eyes, to say the least were opened. I confided with some of my LF members and they too told me that it wasn’t an easy task initially. But with their perseverance and their genuine care for these people, it wasn’t impossible to deal with.
There are many homeless people out there. People with real needs. They do not need computers. They do not need PDAs, notebooks, a Gucci wallet or an
As I wait for my next trip to KAWAN, I’m writing this post, as a reminder of the people who have genuine needs. Once again they need a lot and especially Salvation and grace, not only from God, but from the people around them. I don’t know what my next step is, but I know that whatever it is, it would be a step to do my part for the people who need help. “ THIS CITY IS HAUNTED BY GHOSTS FROM BROKEN HOMES.” And THIS COULD BE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. So perhaps the next time you have an encounter, what would your part be?