Wow, what a day.
I had a full 24 hrs to spend in downtown Vancouver, & like most who haven’t been, I was excited to see all the water, tall buildings, & mountains. Well I got that, but so much more.
My buddy, Steve Farina, set me up to be taken arnd the city by his friend Kim – you can see in the middle pic on the right. Kim is a paramedic but a beautiful soul & so much more.
While we started the day in the gorgeous Stanley Park, that was only the beginning of the story & education I was about to get.
Kim grew up w a father who beat her physically & emotionally, & a mother who was just happy she herself, wasn’t the target of the beating. Kim then left her house & lived on the streets starting at 15! She did many drugs to escape the pain, & found anything she could to stay alive.
The area shown in these pics is where she spent age 15 onward: The Downtown East Side Of Vancouver. Perched just blocks away from stores like Louis Vuitton, this area is about 10 block & side streets, of homeless ppl living sprawled out on the sidewalks.
Kim had “cred” in these areas & in the tent city she brought me to, bc she’d lived “that life”…but she’d made it out. Tho most who grew up w her on those streets are no longer alive, Kim has a natural way of going up to ppl on the East Side & warmly asking them for their stories & how they got “there.”
I started doing the same – as you can see in pics, & let me tell you, their stories are no different than ours – life challenges. The difference is the lack of resources & safety nets they had. The woman on the left in the first pic grew up in Saskatchewan. In fact I asked her if she knew where Moose Jaw was, bc Theo Fleury went to school there, & she taped a message whole for him.
Everyone on this planet has a story. The homeless have been through trauma just like many of us. There is a common thread through ALL of our stories. We need to acknowledge each other, share & come together.