“Wow, it happened to me, it could happen to anybody.”
This story is from the Invisible Project, a collaboration between the Welcome Project and Porter County Coalition for Affordable Housing, Housing Opportunities, Gabriel’s Horn, Dayspring Women’s Center, and Porter County Museum.
Transcript for We Were Them
Speaker 1: What we’re doing here is very outside our comfort zone.
Speaker 2: Yes.
S1: And that’s one of the things we are trying to do different. Because people need to learn these things. It’s not easy for people to open up about this sort of thing. Trust—it doesn’t come easy to me.
S2: It is, it’s very hard to know who you can talk to, and who you can be honest with, because a lot of people in my past— my experiences were, that the more people know about you, the more judgmental they become. Asking for help wasn’t something that I ever really did. That, for both of us, was a big step — having to ask for help.
S1: When we were living out of our vehicle, necessity drove us to have to go here and go there, because, you know, you don’t have resources, you know. We would park in the Walmart parking lot through the night for sleeping, because we knew they had restroom facilities we could use. And when you live like that, you start meeting other people in a similar circumstance. And I was astounded at the number of people with vehicles and such, so I mean, typically if you saw them, you wouldn’t even know that they’re suffering in this way. And they’re all around us. We were them, you know, and I never understood any of this. But I got a pretty good grasp of it now.
S2: I don’t think I ever even really considered people being homeless. It wasn’t anything that I ever thought about, you know. I wasn’t a person who was going to be like,‘Oh, there’s homeless people out there. I should do something to try to help them,’ because the thought never even crossed my mind. And then, when it happens to someone like us, where then I have to take a step back and say, ‘Wow, it happened to me. It can happen to anybody.’ Because I would’ve never in a million years dreamed that I would end up homeless.
S1: What I’ve learned is that life is not a straight line. There’s curves, turns, and you even go back upon yourself many times. And it’s easy to get lost, you know, to take one misstep, to take one wrong turn: left, when you should’ve went right. And, so, to stereotype all these people, and say they’re this, this, or this — I can’t tell you how wrong that is. Bad things happen to good people, and it ain’t through no fault of their own. It’s life. And I’ll never hesitate to help somebody up after this.
Hold a Conversation
Can you imagine leading a conversation about this story? Where? With whom? What kinds of questions would you pose? (See How to use the questions for reflection for one approach.) Please email your questions to us or post them in the comment box for our consideration. If you use them in an actual discussion, let us know how the conversation went.