On Friday, i performed my second prototype.
But before getting into the prototype, i want to mention a few things. This project, the one i picked, it began with overpopulation and i looked at the problem again and looked at it from a different angle and it led me to the problem of homeless people. And personally it hit me in a fundamental way? Why is it a problem? Why do we consider homeless people ‘a problem’. Is it because it is inconvenient for us? I’m the manager of a shop and i come early in the morning to open and i see a homeless person in front i tell him to move because it’s inconvenient for me to see a homeless person staying in front of the shop. Why is it that some people have the ability to be blind the world around us, carefully navigating around, making the extra effort to avoid them. Because i cant help them? because someone else will help them? Or do people just don’t care? People speak of equality, of evenness, our right as a human to be treated fairly yet we create a very distinguishable boundaries that separates us from them. Because we want to protect the familiar. We want to protect the people around us, not strangers we don’t know, we already associate homelessness as failure, as someone who has given up therefor we they are less deserving of our hard earned money right? We worked hard, why cant they? Why cant i be as blind as other people, the ability to walk right past a homeless person and do nothing and be ignorant about it saying someone else will help that person eludes me, as it is an always gut wrenching feeling to the point i avoid the main street to escape the feeling. I have been asking the people in class if any of them has spoken to a homeless person to the point where they asked their name, most of them replied that they have not and followed by, now i feel bad. Funny. One thing to note, i have felt incredibly anxious to donate money, and it would have been easier to donate to a charity. Why? I think because fundamentally again it goes back to the fear of the unknown as i was one of the people who never have spoken to a homeless person to the point where i asked their name. But i made a conscience decision to donate it to a homeless person because whether or not its true, i felt that it will help them better rather than an organisation.
Forgive my heated introduction. This project is getting me more than i expected. On the the prototype
I met a total of three homeless people, Sam from Ukraine, Simon and Brett. After unwittingly stealing from other students in AUT, i used their contributions and used it to help people around Queen street.
In the beginning, I gave my self the courage to speak to a homeless person named Sam and has been in the street for about 3 years, he was sitting outside of Carls Jr. he was selling various shell things. He stays with his son and mentioned that he was not homeless And this is what I bought
Its two shell stuck together, painted white and with 2 painted hearts. and given me a piece of paper he said that
hard top deciphers but from what i can tell it is pretty much what the conversation we had.
I then began a conversation with him, asked for his name and then had a conversation with me. He is originally from Yugoslavia no known as Croatia as he explained me. He then went off just speaking about his hatred about royalties. The fact that they have the ‘right’ to legally take things away from you because it is their ‘right’. Very evident as he mentioned that he recently came from a court for something about slandering royalties. He then went on that the most important thing is the brain and it is all what he has left. that humans and royalties are not different as they all poo but are different because of their birthright, I can only imagine if he was cheated out of his land or something in his home as I didn’t push for anymore information.
He is a very aged man, and slightly slurred speech which made some part of his sentence hard to understand. Before i spoke to him i noticed his head down with his arm in the air holding his piece of paper. While i was speaking to him, the only other person that interacted with him was another two homeless people and knew him by name and said hi how he was doing. Before speaking to him, he really looks incredibly down almost lost his will but is holding on to his piece of paper and waiting for someone to listen to him and pass hos knowledge.
Second person i met was a homeless man named Simon with a Tupperware as his collection method in front of a west pack bank who has been there for 6 years with a duffel bag next to him. Incredibly down man, looking holding his knees close to his chest, not making himself obvious or trying to get attention from people, just silently waiting. I then said hi and asked his name. He is a much younger than Sam and probably not much older than me. He has a mother that lives in Maurewa and sleeps in his brothers van. I offered him to buy food but apparently according to the doctor, he cant eat fastfood as it is unhealthy for him, i assumed he has some sort of dietary condition rather than a picky diet, or what i told myself anyway. I bought him coffee and muffin at a nearby shop and noticed how the other patrons reacted when he entered the shop, everybody was very wary and kept their distance. Simon oddly knows the employees but even them were very wary of him as i feel the uneasiness from everyone. He then continues to say that he meets his mother every 5 or 10 weeks depending on their last fight. needless to say that Simon and mother dont have a terrific relationship, but amazes me how a mother still reaches out to her child, i guess there really is nothing greater than a mothers love. He doesnt stay with her mother because it is no approrpiate and there is not a lot space where her mother is staying. Simon also mentions that he didnt go to school because he really didnt have an upbringing that supported that as i urged him to go back to school. He also says that there are various reasons and things he need to do before he can think for himself. I didnt pry any further. I asked him what if someone walked up to him to offer their home to stay in the couple of days, he said he wasnt sure because depending if the people are nice or appropriate. This only leads to oneself to speculate to what kind of childhood Simon have to be so worried, to feel so inadequate
Lastly I met Brett, he is stationed outside of Rod and Gun and he is making origami art to sell and have been there for about 6 years as well, he had the top part of a shoe box as his box to collect money with the words, support art busking. He was a older gentleman, older than Simon but younger than Sam. He had broken broken glasses where half the ear handles is missing and the nose bridge is taped roughly, his glasses was incredibly in rough shape. He stayed in the backpackers lodge, no family except for some of the other long term members of the place. Made an effort to say the stuff he is making is incredibly simple and simply needs only time which he has a lot of. i could not afford what he is selling but i gave the rest of the money i got from the box to him.
There was something enlightening speaking these gentlemen all of them have their own happiness they appreciate around them. With the money I collected I knew it wasn’t any game changing amount and I couldnt give it to each person in queen street so I had to pick who I was going to interact with. So even if I know it or not there are already biased methods of picking of who deserved the money. Based on how they look, how badly they needed the money from my imaginary high horse. Picking and choosing people based on appearance, based on what i think is right. What if I made the wrong choice. What if there is another street corner I didnt reach and that person died because they havent eaten in 9 days. People say you cant help everyone, and I know that i have played many RPG to know that you cant do everything, that everyone cant is saved sacrifices have to made. to make the hard calls. But why does it hurt. To know these things. Why cant i be normal like everyone around me and shrug it off. The high class environment, working area, luxury area that is queen street juxtaposed with the homeless people begging in the street creates such an uneasy feeling within me for as long as i can remember. Simon hungry but is in front of a fast food chain almost taunting him for his predicament. Sam sitting in front of a bank, a place where all of his worries can disappear, a place of money, a place of greed. Brett sitting in front of high-end clothes line whereas he hasn’t receive new clothes in years. All of these things paint such an unsettling scene. Where the poor exist side by side with money and food within arms reached but prevented by a wall we call money. Can i become as blind as other people? I was unexpectedly given money, from my first prototype and it led me here. Questioning why is homelessness is a problem. Why is it such a detrimental position to be in and why cant we do anything about me. There have been homeless people before me, and much more will come after me, but if being born in the right family is all there is to it, why did i get. There are far more deserving people then me, who is smarter than me. Disaster events life are all connected to give an outcome. to help, to be conceited, to do nothing. Everyday i contemplate being lazy for an assignment which lead to bad grades but whats after that. Everyday my friends make jokes about just doing nothing because university is too hard but these are real to some people. be lazy. But why do i think this when there are other people who experienced life in such a different way, in such a harsh way.
PS. in the end of my second prototype i still dont know what my final project is.
PSS. Sorry for the unforgiving long post but many things i could not have prevented as this project as my fingers just could not stop typing