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Homeless living in St Vincent and the Grenadines

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EDITOR: An experience I have often as a homeless man in SVG is the comment/question: ‘How you do to come so?’ This question always amuses me. How do I respond? ‘Well, I haven’t accepted the norm as many people do of sleeping with somebody for money, or worshiping the devil’, is one possible response. By ‘come so’ it is as if the questioner is suggesting I have a disease! I am exactly the same person I was in 2009 at the peak of a reporters career in notoriety. I still read classic and contemporary novels. I write music albeit Classical which I have graduated to from the questionable vagaries of pop music (all of my pop music was in fact lost/stolen and a chunk of the classical music too. What I should reply to that question comment/ is ‘How alyo stop so?’ The questioner places far too much emphasis on my clothes and how I look. No amount of designer prada outfiltts, Gucci belts or Clarks shoes can disguise or separate Vinciess from the illicitness and the diseasedness of especially sexual activities indulged in behind closed doors, only very occasionally spilling out into the streets. Who am I then? I still believe in God, I fall in love almost every month, although these days no follow-up is indicated since a beautiful 18-year-old dashed my hopes, by being too young, and not wanting to leave SVG, and there won’t be another for me and the age and other differences are too severe.

Anyhow, I digress. The Roman Catholic soup kitchen serves a lunch every Sunday and with that lunch is given a packet of sweet biscuits. Sometimes a five pack of “Shirley’ or a four pack of bourbon creams, tea time or Big-4s. Last Sunday I was down and out as is sometimes the case. A friend of mine loaned me a five and then I ‘butt up’ on an old musician colleague who provided me with another five. I went gaily to Randys. As the exception to the rule I decided to buy a pack of pall mall menthol cigarettes (I had quit cigarettes altogether in September on release from MHC, smoking highleaf toabacco wraps exclusively, but SVGs goading resulted in a month long slip and I don’t buy them every day), and a big loaf of whole wheat bread, which is as much as my ten dollars could afford. I had not too long eaten at the soup Kitchen and had my 5 pack of shirley biscuits in my pockets. I took it out with the bag of highleaf there searching for my money. Lo and behold this bumptious fat fairskinned worker approached me and asked me if I were going to pay for the Shirley biscuits. I responded, not too surprised as this kind of attitude is typical towards somebody on the street or out of the mental health system. I said, I got these at the soup kitchen with lunch, I don’t even know where your biscuits are’. I appealed to the cashier: Miss, didn’t you see me go directly to the bread aisle? Mis Porky fat persisted. “The biscuit section is right here”, and it was to the left of her. I seriously wonder if she were considering a plant, you know, a frame. phew!

I am asking Father Martin who supervises giveaways and lunch on Sundays at “loaves and fishes RC Soup Kitchen” to please just call Randy’s and assure them that ‘I ain’t come so’ to the point of stealing an item valued at just under a dollar no matter how desperate I am and that the item they gave away with lunch that day was in fact a 5 pack of Shirley.
The stories I have of street life… rape by police, beating by police, harassment by civilians appointing themselves as security guards… and unexpected moments of kindness too, much much fewer and farther in between.

Editor, hope you publish this, it might help somebody for whom an experience like the one that I had might encourage them to do the wrong thing.

On a final note, kudos to Father Martin, when he is around the lunch atmosphere at the soup kitchen is decidedly more Chrisitan than it normally is, and to one of the chefs, ‘Bridget’, one of the very few cooks who overlooks the fact that she is cooking for nobodies by using resource and her best techniques to make our lives better by sometimes the only good meal for the day a homeless person can look forward too.

Colin King

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