Photo: A homeless Vietnam War Veteran. Credit: www.anonymousartofrevolution.com
This article is dedicated to the ones who look for some of the most vulnerable people in society, from the armies of volunteers working worldwide, to their coordinators, managers, religious and secular leaders to the great philanthropists, from those who contribute with a can of food, a coin, to those who put part of their fortunes and institutional efforts trying to make sure no one goes hungry.
This is a departure from the harder Economics on my previous article into the human part of those poor and disenfranchised by the system, life or, sometimes, by themselves.
Founded by HH Duke Michael David Peschka, in October 2010, this organization is based around a growing interest in paintings of the homeless around the world by HH Duke Michael and others, also including contributions of original music and poetry. To contact The.Homeless.Project@ImperialHouseofKings.org .
The sun is rising; is a bit chilly but otherwise is so beautiful. The ocean waves soothe the soul with peace, which comes as a heaven-sent blessing after a night having to sleep with one eye open and fending all sort of dangers and the problems that come to you just by being there.
The middle-aged man with a past well to do aspect and educated expression pack his seemly perennial night-of-adventure stuff trying not to let visible marks of a human being in the last place where he closed his eyes.
The night did not bring sleep, instead, he had to fend all sort of human creatures looking for all sort of opportunities in a predatory environment, while trying to find a place to rest his tired body.
The night before, a female tourist looking for adventure made love with him in the ocean under a full moon.
Many times, he had to be an anonymous father to young kids coming depressed from the clubs, not knowing what to do with their lives.
A week earlier he witnessed a Royal Caribbean cruise ship drifting close to the beach shore during a stormy night, the crew managed to get the large ship engines running and the ship was saved from beaching itself.
He saw enormous turtles, probably, well over a hundred years old, coming ashore to lay their eggs; sharks feasting in giant schools of sardines; the spectacle of hundreds and even thousands of birds coming for their first meals of the day, a water sprout landing a hundred feet from him; things in the night sky not behaving according to the laws of Physics, many shooting stars carrying the wishes of countless people, three hurricanes; of course, all the joys and misery in the midst of the luxury and riches of the human fawn.
Once, he almost lost his life in the hands of a gang initiating a new member. The new guy had to kill a homeless. The group was high on drugs and quite violent beating the homeless while he packed his few things. He walked slowly with a gun to his head until he got to the beach-walk, where he pressed a public phone emergency button and screamed half in German that he was a journalist for 'Der Spiegel.' and has been assaulted. The location registered immediately at the nearby Police Station and six patrol cars came in a matter of seconds.
While the delinquents were stunned by the police sirens, the man kicked the gun out of the hand of his potential killer and punched his face so hard that many bloody gold teeth exploded out of it. The cops came, he ran in one direction and the gangsters in another.
The drugged thugs, a group of twelve, started to fight the police and the cops reciprocated by beating the crap out of them. The officers were quite disciplined, no one fired his gun. It seemed that everyone was enjoying a good ol' macho man street fight, which ended with everyone going to downtown.
Sleepy, he missed his wake up time around 4:00 AM when he goes to the clubs, offering to discretely (and out of payroll) help the waiter staff to clean the floors, pack the tables and close for a few bucks per waiter. Is mid-week so there in not much anyway, and this was his last night in the street, and what a night, it rained, and he had to face a gang of juvenals with bats. He punched one of the kids, took his bat and kicked some ass. Some parents would be facing good medical bills.
For a year, out in the streets, he saved every penny and now can rent a cheap marijuana roach laden hotel room, one of the few remaining cheap places from the Mariel lift-boat era.
He went to a friend who owns a sandwich shop. In exchange for food and letting him bath and shave, he cleans the store and does the prep work.The store was awarded 'The Cleanest Store' award by the large franchise.
After two to three hours he visits a laundry where he has part of his clothes and picks up clean clothing. He arranged with the owner to have clothes cleaned there for some amount of money a week.
The man is a highly intelligent and a gifted man. He loves music and knows every classical great master. He plays several instruments, and love literature, art, speaks several languages and it is world traveled and can sustain a cult conversation with anyone. He also keeps himself abreast of his profession.
After a divorce, where his woman opened her eyes and dodged a life of quixotic poverty, and spending, for years, his remaining money, brokering deals that never closed, he finds himself old, overqualified for the available jobs and in the streets.
He goes to the public library to seek refuge from the sun and read, or join intelligent conversations or to network with his unexpected peers. When in the streets, is very important to know whats going on at the beginning of the nutritional chain and to know who is who, especially the delinquents, low life forms, criminals and the rest of the underworld, also, where the food is, where the police is patrolling, where the security officers are dangerous and abusive. He is already clean and neat. No one thinks he is homeless.
There in the library, he meets Archangelo (not his actual name), who came from Argentina (not his actual country) after selling everything, with the idea of putting a shop to repair antique Harleys. He is an expert restoring them. He met some people and set a business. Shortly before opening shop, one of the partners 'lo cago' (defecated on him, figuratively), the partner ran out with the money and all his documents. Welcome to America.
Ten years, bouts with heart problems and an incorrect Hepatitis B diagnostics and crazy madness left him reduced to an almost an animal. But some illumination came to his mind and he became a writer.
He writes about his adventures as a homeless, a ‘linyera,’ as they call homeless in his native country.
He had a bird that befriended him, called Amarillo, no matter how the night was, Amarillo always came in the morning and hanged out with him while he saw the daily ritual of those in his situation; the huge big mama black woman bathing on the public showers lost in herself while putting her soapy hand between her massive legs, or the bums trading beer or discussing how to use the meager welfare payments. The safety net is quite poor and unsafe in this area where the rich of the world come to play.
Most tend to be distrustful of each other and, in many cases, also have incompatible lifestyles, instead of pooling the meager welfare or social security money and get a place, credit permitting, they prefer to be out, enjoying their cages without borders freedom.
Housing, health, and utilities eat most of most people's incomes. Not having to pay for that lifts a big yoke and makes attractive this lifestyle for those who can somehow adapt and fend sleepiness and the dangers out there without getting crazy or learning how to sooth misery with alcohol and many times, illegal drugs. (Photo credit: Facebook)
Some homeless discuss the gay clubs where the men are offered more for their sexual services. Some of the few girls, discuss where they can attract men for paid sex out of police view, is the easiest way out, unless there is a drug problem or, for those more virtuous or uglier, how to make ends. The street destroys a girl's beauty very fast.
The few families in the street, try to stay together as much as possible. Many want to go north, even if risking the cold weather, or getting into a ghetto, as the welfare system is far better there.
Archangelo lives under a bridge, sharing the location with all sorts of homeless, some crazy; others drug users, other just hobos from the north fleeing the cold, other people working for the hotels but making the minimum, not enough to rent in the beach but too far away from viable places.
He ate a good breakfast this morning, courtesy of the dumpster at a big Publix Supermarket. The store discards the unsold items from the deli. The store, like all of the rest, padlocks their dumpsters as, no matter how much they would love to feed the needy, they face potential liabilities if someone gets poisoned by the discarded food. Also, many, would love to get sick to be set for life. Still, some employees discretely or by 'accident' leave food for those they know.
The stores send edible food, mostly canned food, to churches, soup kitchens, and food banks. But, most are far away. Near the areas where the authorities want to shovel their homeless problem. Food Freedom, part of an article where Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has created regulations around giving food to the homeless that few could meet and that would apply a fine and imprisonment in a deal with, ironically, the ACLU, who won a large case against the county for destroying homeless property and harassing them.
The homeless in the beach, want nothing to do with the homeless in the mainland. There is a clash of cultures. Most of the crime associated with homelessness is done by others coming to the beach, as 'we do not defecate where we eat.' Most of the crime is related to drunk revelers passing out in the sand and having their wallets and jewelry stolen, couples lost in their lust, having the same stolen, including their clothing and sometimes serious crimes, like rape and murder, usually gang or drug-related. Unless you know what are you doing, is not wise to be alone on the beach at three am. Officially that beach closes at midnight.
Archangelo makes a round near 5 AM and many times he can get edible food. It is a ‘fregan’ lifestyle. From time to time his digestive track catch something and he has to use the same toilet as the whales, the sharks, and other marine life, but, most of the time he is fine.
He loves Richard Wagner’s music and Nordic sagas, and have a very witty and cult sense of humor against all his adversity. This middle-aged man is an encyclopedia on how to survive the streets and can tell you about run-ins with the police, about who among them and security officers chase out homeless, about most of the known delinquents, about every place where to get food, fregan style, about where to engage in human bodily functions, and how to get photographed with beautiful women.
Behind his kind smile, witty humor and substantial intelligence hide a sad man whose hope is to be taken to the Valhalla with others warriors in the great battle of life.
Carlitos (not his real name) was beaten up by boardwalk security, the rumor mill says.
He came to the USA during the El Salvador civil war seeking political asylum, after surviving the death squads, seeing as a child, the horrors of a bloody and cruel war and having to kill many times to save his own life. John Lamperti, from the article about the War in El Salvador titled The Trojan Horse
Somehow, his case has been lost in the system and he is in a legal limbo. He cannot get welfare nor legally work. He survives by working black, occasionally selling marijuana and serving jail time.
Even his cruel past, he is a quiet guy. Follows the same routine as most homeless people, sleep wherever and whenever he can, mostly under the boardwalk and hide his stuff in various places and arrange to clean his clothes with friends and laundries or as he can. He sits on the boardwalk, along with celebrities and others and burns time in the public library.
One of the boardwalk security officers does not like Carlitos. He continuously harasses him and even push him and call him names and other provocations. Some citizens saw this and reported it directly to the commission and city management. The officer got a slap on the wrist and a couple of days later two big black guys, allegedly paid by the officer, beat the crap out of Carlitos. He was left for dead.
A couple of early morning joggers saw the bloody mess and called rescue. Carlitos survived but spent several months in a hospital.
The residents were enraged. The officer has been never seen again. A couple of big black guys are also missing from the scene.
'Soldier' is missing. He is a Purple Heart Vietnam veteran who lost his legs in combat. How he managed to move his wheelchair through the sand is a mystery. He liked to drink and who knows what else. But even in his dark moments, he was jovial. Always making pranks and even willing to tell his many war adventures. He is one of the many veterans homeless. There are many that can be qualified as mental cases, being in a war is a life-changing event, especially when you have to kill and do so many things your mores would reject in normal circumstances.
Is a shame our country has not taken enough care of those who have been told they fought for freedom, even if they were put in harm's way, in many cases, for a definition of freedom that was different than the one they fought for...
AQUI SE HACE LO QUE YO DIGA! (Everybody does as I say!!) This is Carmela. Ten years in the street. Her youth beauty faded. Still hanging around her life philosophy, which is around three main axiological premises: 1+1=3, Everyone does as I say! and, What's your problem?
She came to the USA from Peru. Her parents were an upper middle class, with property, professions, and contacts. She had a terrible hormone laden adolescence. Terrible party girl, pothead, for whom life was a bacchanal. She did not like school, nor home. She loved to collect guys semen and repackage it, with some perfume, as anti-aging cream, sold to her rich mother's friends, allegedly, an old aboriginal formula from the jungle.
Her older brother, from her dad, has a brain with a sign that says VACANT. Both parents were very frustrated with the kids and were fighting all the time. This very dysfunctional family will mark for life Carmela.
Finally, the parents gave up and sent her to relatives in the USA. Instead of going to the airport and enter the USA with a VISA, she somehow managed to get to Mexico and after paying the Coyotes (Mexican smugglers), entered illegally the country. Our thrill seeker adventurer committed the biggest legal error in her life.
She is not entirely stupid, but she is stubborn and ignorant, therefore the 1+1=3.
After the risky crossing of the USA/Mexican border, she finally arrived at her relative's home. His uncle was prospering and had a gas station and convenience market and some rental real estate.
She could not get used to a stable functional home, created trouble and escaped, still a minor. Slept in cars, befriended all sort of potheads and thrill seekers and finally got the attention of an old man who offered her 'the papers' and put her to work in one of his factories. While having a very active sexual personal life, she refused sex with the old man, the old man did not like it and chased her out. This modeled her relationship with men. A middle-aged guy who would take the responsibilities (and expenses) of a husband (provider), while she had a lot of fun and a torrid sexual life with all sort of bad guys (seducers).
Finally, she ran out of 'husbands' (providers) and seduced a seminarian. The young guy with innocent face told her he was sterile. She got pregnant and she made his life as miserable as she could. After little Petrushka was born, the guy escaped for never to be seen again. Now she had to face the world as a single mother.
Petrushka probably saved Carmela's life but made it a hell. She was lovely, but she was at the same time a little monster, 'she bites, she kicks, she punches, she scratches,' was the common complaint of those who babysit-ted her, while her mother struggled to have a roof and have a limited social life.
Because of her exotic looks, she worked mostly as a receptionist. But she could not hold a job, nor anything that implied stability. In a few days, she forms a big problem or gets into a physical fight to be fired every time.
Carmela started to pick up again no sex 'husbands.' The guys, mostly middle-aged, losers, according to her, all fall in love with the little monster and tolerated the mother lifestyle. As soon as the girl became emotionally stable, Carmela formed a big problem 'What are you doing to my daughter?!!!' The guys scared to death from the prospects of going to prison and having their asses ripped apart by 'the good Samaritans,' and their lives ruined, kicked her out immediately.
(In the USA society, in their interactions with women, the man is always the bad guy no matter what, and no one is going to believe him. He may escape prison if lucky in a court of law, but he may spend time in jail if cannot post a bond, his reputation will be ruined for life and he will face legal bills and probably lose his job. Interacting with women in the USA requires a lot of trust, and legal preparation, as you will be exposed not only to their sweetness but to their dark side. My guess is that this is one of the reasons the mail bride industry is so large. A great book on this, written in layman's language by RK Hendrick, Esq., titled How to avoid "Getting Screwed" when getting Laid, explain all the legal aspects of interacting with women. This book should be in the hands of literally every man.)
Facing homelessness Carmela moved north, where she got welfare right away (Petrushka is a USA Citizen). The girl was such an emotional mess that she was taken to foster care.
Petrushka escaped and went to her mom. Both fled south and this was the beginning of their lives as homeless.
Carmela's beauty faded away, still have an attractive body, but the street has taken its toll. For a while, she got a 'husband.' Petrushka, who is very bright, managed to get to high school the third year, but, once Carmela's husband had enough, they went back to the street and she dropped off from school. (Photo credit: World of Stock)
Petrushka and Carmela separated. The girl went to live with several guys until one got her pregnant. The guy, however, was in love with her and took her as his wife. Petrushka is now in her twenties and they have a beautiful girl. She got a stable home.
Carmela is still begging in the street. Her son in law wants her at a safe distance. She hangs around mostly with black guys as she loves hip-hop. Not all are bad, just passing through an unlucky phase, as can happen to anyone. Her only salvation here is to get married. She wants a young guy. She is no longer a young girl. Interestingly, she has never been known for prostituting herself for money, even in the middle of all her need.
Her parents already passed away. The last time she saw them, she was sixteen years old.
The voice spread that Agustin, el Papo, passed away. ‘What the beach gave you, the beach takes back,’ was his famous saying.
Agustin was a Chemical Engineer with an advanced degree. He went from Uruguay to Venezuela, where he manufactured plastics. He was an expert in the process. As his business prospered he became very wealthy. But he was not happy. One day, after arranging with his lawyers, he set a trust where all his assets were to be held. The trust will manage his businesses and take care of his family. The next morning he drove his car away to never return. (Photo credit: Dehn International)
He came to the USA with his nephews, who departed to Spain. He decided to stay. Probably he was the richest homeless in the USA.
His story is that he got fed up with his kids love for material things and lack of love and appreciation for him and a demanding nagging wife wanting to leave and take his fortune. As many of the homeless, a divorce or a separation contribute or drove him to the streets.
He made camp near a lifeguard house. He and his friend Mark, who was denied Social Security benefits, were companions in the adventure. They spent countless thunderstorms on the beach and a couple of hurricanes.
He had an athletic constitution as he was soccer player. However, he smoked a lot.
Sometimes he had a lot of stuff people gave him. The city and police take it one day leaving him with a short trouser and nothing else, a day or two later, he had his camping ground again.
Agustin has a lot of stories about security from the luxury hotels beating up and harassing homeless, beach walk security taking the law in their hands and destroying their stuff and harassing them and even a couple of police officers riding their motor vehicles over homeless stuff at night. Once, Agustin was almost killed when a vehicle passed almost over him, leaving the tire marks over the middle of his improvised bed.
Once, Agustin felt bad with a severe chest pain. He was taken to emergency and from where he had heart surgery. He got a quadruple bypass. The hospital had the visit of the ambassador of his country and one of his lawyers. The almost three hundred thousand dollar hospital bill was immediately paid in full. After a short recovery period, Agustin went back to the streets.
A few weeks after that, Marc, his Anglo companion had his social security approved, and got a large payment. He was a machinist for thirty years. His drinking habits ended a rough relationship with his wife and she took everything. Like many homeless on the beach, he ended there after a divorce. Some of his friends in the beach also went through divorces and more than a fifth were armed forces veterans. Marc took Agustin with him and they went to live in several places until Agustin decided he wanted back in the beach.
One morning, instead of reporting to the lunch truck where he helped in exchange for food, he put his head in the sand and never woke up.
A group of mostly young homeless, who work for the hotels for wages too low for being able to have a roof, and others who were homeless by choice or lifestyle, others who send most of their money to their families in their native countries while telling their relatives about how well they are doing, for whom Agustin, el Papo, was like a father, along with some friends, made an impromptu service in his memory with a helium balloon with his photo, which was cut to fly away, free, in a symbolic ascent to the heavens to get lost with the supreme being.
He passed away from a massive heart attack. The embassy located his relatives and they took his body to his native country.
Sleepers Awake, Johann Sebastian Bach To my friend Agustin
I am particularly interested in doing financial engineering to fund economic development and humanitarian causes.
Global warming turns 125 ... sort of. Next year wi ...
beBee · wants original content, and, as a reward, ...
You have no groups that fit your search