My boaters have found a better home

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Where I stayed
Ryan's House

Flag of United States  , Washington
Monday, August 16, 2010

[*Note is inserted at the top of the post because it is inappropriate at the bottom:
I first noticed him because he was dirty and had no soles on his shoes. I didn't just randomly give him a pair of my favorite shoes. ]

Welcome to Seattle. It’s very warm and my head is producing so much sweat my eyes hurt. There’s not too much to do here, but my hosts last night were incredibly friendly and filled my morning with laughter and bagels.

Did you know: Over here Cress is called Broccoli shoots. To an even more bizarre degree there are many types of 'shoot’ and in true American fashion I had the low calorie ones. Low calorie in what sense I’m not sure, because if I think about this one surely they’re composed of pretty much… nothing? But what I was trying to say was that I had turkey, some creamy mint mayo thing and these shoots on my bagel, which, I have to say, was incredible as a breakfast.

I’ve now arrived at my second host. Ryan is a programmer for Microsoft for something I think he called PHP. Anyone who fancies taking guesses about what that is your welcome to comment. From the sounds of thing it’s pretty cool, so I wouldn’t class him as a traditional geek. I’m here until Wednesday now, and I hope to update daily while I’m here. If I don’t, apologies- it will probably because tomorrow I plan to bike around an island over the water from Seattle. I tell you what though, after all this walking up hills, and by hills I mean mini mountains, no one will turn down my calves. Imagine the legs of the guys (and girls) on bay watch and you will have something like what mine are turning into. Maybe more like a girl’s pair of legs at the moment, but slowly progressing towards full macho man within the next few weeks.

By the way forgive my Americanisms in these posts. I hate the way the red squiggle appears under the words spelt wrong, and so even though I know that they are spelt ‘technically’ right I just have to make my screen look clean and tidy before I post.

So the homeless boy didn’t come back for lunch today. I was a bit disappointed, but what I didn’t tell you all yesterday was that I gave him a pair of my shoes, and so at least he didn’t leave with nothing*. Even though they were my favorite pair of boaters the advantage is that I have much more room in my bag. Weirdly however, even though I’ve lost weight the bag feels heavier, but that might just be me missing my blue boaters and needing something to blame. Sadly, I hear from my host this morning that homelessness is rife in Seattle, and the majority of it is in the Youth population. Call me naive but I was incredibly surprised to hear that over 100,000 different children from age 8 till 22 are homeless in Seattle, and the government only offers around 12 rooms per night. When I expressed my concern, the mother of said host told me more about how the system works (as she works in Child and Family illegal immigration and prostitution services here in Seattle) and how the lottery bed system works. Its not all downsides though. If you are determined to leave homelessness they will train you over 8 weeks to work in a Starbucks or in restaurants all over the city. It’s a good system and one that the UK should adopt. Worse still is social services in America. I am incredibly lucky to have only 5-10 cases per 3 month period in my job in Oxford. Here it’s over 300 children per service provider. So lets be honest, just imagine how many are being forgotten.

I said a prayer as I waited for Ian (the homeless boy) in Mcdonalds. He was wearing thick clothing, and would be sweltering in this heat. I remembered asking Jess yesterday what she thinks God thinks of him, if ever I get the chance to ask him. "He loves him more than we could imagine" she replied. Oh how, if I was God, I would look down and choose to love Ian over and above most other children who have no idea how much they have, and how much they are loved. Ian told me that he wanted to go and fish for jelly fish, and that one day he would open a jelly fish restaurant. I said my boater shoes would come in handy, I guess just to make him laugh and see him smile. He offered me his only possession, Othello by Shakespeare (a book he had obviously found in the trash, and that had given him comfort over the last few weeks, maybe more) in exchange for my shoes. I know God loves him. Because if God didn’t, then who would? Who will? 
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Mr. Cynic on

I hope Ian didn't use your shoes to help him buy some heroin...

Did you take the Othello? Will you taste jelly fish?

Anna on

Crisis in London runs a similar training scheme, training homeless people to work in their deli, earn an nvq and then work for coffee chains. Enjoying reading your blog :)

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