The Homeless

Over this Christmas season as you went about your busy lives Christmas shopping in Bridgetown did you stop to “see” or notice the many homeless men that abide in the city? When you saw them did you hustle on by with a quick judgment of – useless druggy or speculation of why you don’t just get a job?

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Or do you say a little prayer for that man, that human being down on his luck and think but for the grace of God that could be me? Maybe you offered a handful of change or maybe you took the time and bought a drink and a sandwich and offered it to the nameless guy on the street? Or did you curse him, laugh at him, spit on him or crossed the road to avoid him?

I had the opportunity over a couple of years to interact with these guys. Before that I too judged and hustled by…but one day my eyes were opened and suddenly I saw these men as broken souls and I stopped, looked and tried to listen.

I quickly learned that many of the forgotten men were actually educated with some having attended top schools like Harrisons College or Lodge School. At least two of the guys had actual professions and had been highly regarded by society at one point of their lives. Does that surprise you? It sure did me.

Some are homeless from making wrong decisions in life…the draw of drug and alcohol that became an all-consuming desire in their lives and their income could not support their habits. Some have had mental and nervous breakdowns and their families could no longer deal with their “madness” and put them out and they live their lives between Jenkins n Black Rock and the streets.

Some are old men that didn’t support their kids when they were young, didn’t manage their finances well and now they are old their children will not support them and often the same kids cash the old men’s welfare checks and pocket the money.

The stories of these guy’s lives were fascinating to me. I looked forward to interacting and hearing about their lives. I knew the homeless guy who drowned a few years ago in Graham Hall swamp, and the guy who died from ‘leptospirosis’ as he was bitten by a rat, the guy who had terminal cancer, the one who thought the government had wired the whole of Bridgetown with cameras and microphones to listen and watch him on a daily basis, the one who drew pictures of ships on everything, the one that bought me a ‘precious’ gift specially chosen out of the garbage, but still a gift from him.

I am thrilled to say that over the last few years some kind people have started the Homeless and Vagrant Society and they reach out and try to help as many of these souls as possible. Many are fed many nights a week by different people and organizations trying to make a difference.

I write this excerpt to try and encourage people not to judge those who live fallen lives, as we cannot see what life has ahead of us. I urge you to see these guys, perhaps offer a semblance of kindness in word or deed. Give thanks for what you have in life and understand we are all just a hurricane or disaster away from also being homeless and dependent on organizations to show kindness to us.

About Totally Barbados (Edit profile)

Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow online businesses with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.