Monday, August 6, 2012

"Do you have any spare change?"

We continued our travels and after a day in the car we landed in San Francisco. We found the hotel we were staying in online during a brief stop during the journey and all sounded good - it had excellent reviews and was a great price.

After a fantastic sleep we set out to explore the city. Walking towards the bus we realized very quickly that we were in the middle of what appeared to be the area where the homeless lived. Garry and I were both shocked to see so many people wandering, aimlessly, obviously with serious drug, alcohol and/or mental health issues. Yasemin became very distressed and was crying as she had never seen people eating out of trash cans before. It really did feel like we were in another world. We all felt really sad for all the people.

We did see a number of homeless people with dogs - you don't imagine that many people who live on the street have pets. I later discovered that a special program runs where the homeless are given a dog to love and care for and in return they receive free food for their pet and a small wage each week. This seemed like a really innovative and beneficial program.

San Francisco has almost 7,000 people sleeping on the street each night. We did not feel unsafe, however if I was honest I would admit that I was constantly in a hyper alert state. It is difficult, even as an adult to reconcile that so many people were once loved and adored babies, now living in such a harsh environment. It was also a reminder of what lovely lives we lead...

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