This morning I went climbing with a work colleague, and did ok; I managed a few things I’ve not done before, didn’t injure myself. I drove home, picked up biscuits and coffee, and then called my parents in England. A decent start to the day.
This afternoon, I drove down to the southern part of Seattle to a homeless outreach that I’d been planning to help with for a while. They distribute food and water and other things people need to a few camps down there.
There’s maybe ten or so tents, under the I-5 freeway. On a dry, clear day like today, that was almost pleasant, but I imagine it’s miserable in the rain and cold. There’s a variety of structures there, from tents to wooden shacks, surrounded by undergrowth. Various people would come down, swap out ice packs for new frozen ones (less useful as the winter comes, but still of some utility), get food, and search through donated clothes.
The thought is that this should be mutual aid, rather than just turning up with some random stuff you want to give away. There’s things they need more of : in particular batteries (for torches and other electronic devices), tents, tobacco. I had to make an effort to talk to people; on the one hand, they might not want to talk to anyone, but to affectlessly dole stuff out and not show concern for people is also not right.
The second camp I went to was up a hill above the train tracks. Again, it’s hard to understand until you’ve been there how hard it must be. There was a long trudge of a climb up a steep hill, to carry anything in or out of the camp. I did my best to be useful; I can carry propane cylinders so that’s one useful skill I possess. Again, it’s difficult; what do you say to people? You don’t want to intrude, but it’s also quite possible these people get some value out of having somebody else to speak with. And I did say I wanted to do more for the people around me. So onwards… I’ll think some more upon this and get my thoughts straighter …
After that, it was time to go home for a celebratory parade around the neighborhood, and then to build a new fire pit. I bought a large copper bowl today, about 30" across, and then burned a lot of wood so the children could melt marshmallows. You have to have concrete goals.