Sunday, December 21, 2008

A sad photo after a happy night

Here is a sad photo after a happy night I had in my advisor's house. I and some other students and non-students were invited by him to have some his father-made Italian pizzas. We also celebrated the "Yalda Night" by eating pomegrenate, Halva and Borani (they are some Iranian foods). Halva is kind of a dessert made of flour, vegetable oil, saffron, and sugar. Borani is made of yogurt, spinach and garlic. It was a very very fun and happy night.

BUT on the way back home, I saw a sad, sad scene. This woman was there for several days in this bad weather. We saw her there before. I don't know if she was alive or dead. What do homeless people do in this weather? Is there any organization or place to let them sleep somewhere warm? I had to do something. I couldn't see a "human" being suffered this much and do nothing or keep joking and laughing with friends. We all are human, yes?
Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.
* This is a poem of Saadi, one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. This poem is used to grace the entrance to the Hall of Nations of the UN building in New York.

I don't have a cell phone. So I asked my friends to call 911 or somewhere to ask for help to see who this woman is and if she needs help (ofcourse she does) but they didn't care. There were also some guys there to clean the road. I walked to them and let them know about her and asked if we should call somewhere to do something. They just told me we just work for "road maintenance" services. We are not in charge of these cases. The bus had arrived and I had to go. No one did nothing! No one did nothing! We are human, are we sure? How can I sleep in my warm bed tonight and leave that woman there to die of cold. It's -5 C degrees (feels like -14 C degree) or 22 F degrees (feels like 7 F degrees) out. Heeeeeyyyyyyyyyy, who can I ask for help? Why no one cares? I shout: "We are human, are we sure?"


Dina said...

You got a good picture of a tough question.
Last winter, just before the snow, our city workers went around to all the homeless to offer temporary indoor shelter. Most of them refused to go. They gave them blankets and warm clothes instead, for those who chose to stay out.
You never know . . .
Did you write that poem, Meead? Nice!

But your party sounds good. Our halva is from sesame seed.

USelaine said...

Meead, just enter the words "portland oregon homeless" into Google. You'll get a list of shelters and agencies you can contact for advice and assistance. It is a big problem all around the US, and we have homeless people here in Willits too. Like Dina said, some of them refuse to stay in shelters. Some of them are chronically mentally ill, and services for them are a low priority for voters that don't want to pay taxes for their support. If you have time over the holidays, you might want to volunteer to help at one of the service providers.

Bless you, Meead. I hear some terrible wind storms are coming.

USelaine said...

This is interesting:

Dignity Village.

Lynette said...

Meead, your education and your curiosity and your desire to help broadens with each day of your life here in Portland. I admire someone with your compassion, especially someone so far from home and all of its known comforts and support structure.

Jilly said...

This is so sad, Meead. I hope this poor woman was able to be offered shelter that night.