Monday, January 16, 2017

Humans are messy
Well, sometimes things do get complicated. While I was trying to decipher Jennifer's phone call to see if her baby Wisdom was truly in an emergency health situation or just suffering from a little virus, and what I could possibly do from miles away with no cash on me, I was also coming down with that kind of head cold that gives you a migraine headache. Jennifer had been to the doctor already that day, and it turned out she was in a position to have Cool's brother Ehis run to a 24 hour pharmacy with 30 euros. So she really did not need emergency assistance. In that phone call she demanded money and was not polite about it. Of course, her son was vomitting and she was worried.

Then today I got a text message from her unwanted roommate and sister-in-law, Mamma Freedom, saying that if God could forgive her husband for not being a perfect human, why couldn't I? So I had to explain to her that Stanley's rudeness for me is already forgiven, if not forgotten. She said he was a young boy who still has a lot to learn. I told her that she has me confused with someone petty. I don't have to like people to help them, but none of them are in the six person group that we promised to help. It is just a fact. She proceeded to ask me for about a thousand euros worth of home furnishings and other things and said I had to do right by her baby. I did ask for donations on their behalf, but I am not about to buy those things outright for them. The house they want to move into temporarily is not in good standing and may be foreclosed by the bank. She has not gotten permission to move in there from the owners, and at the moment it has no heating system. I told her that she had to have a better plan before she goes around looking for investors. Then I had to tell Cool, Jennifer's husband and Mamma Freedom's brother-in-law, that if his family doesn't learn how to make polite requests, I won't be taking their calls in the future.

I had a direct conversation with each of them, and I set some ground rules. Helping is not all being a saint and getting thanked and all that bullshit. Helping is hard. Especially in this desperate situation. I hope I can bring light onto what the refugees are living with and that I do not have to try to solve these issues alone. In a little more than one year's time, I will move on and I hope that they will be in a better position to do so, as well.

I can't help thinking that Donna Galeno, my old supervisor from when I was an embarrassing wreck, interning at the homelessness department of the Red Cross, would be proud of me. She tried to teach me this stuff about how important it is to be distant enough to see things clearly, to have your own life first, and to not be so wedded to a problem, that you wouldn't want to see it solved. I was too young and too messed up to practice what she preached when I was in my twenties. But I get it now. Trust me, Donna, I want this problem solved. Proven by the fact that this is not my career; it is just a kind of shitty, but noble hobby. 

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