Thursday, October 23, 2008

foxes have holes and birds have nests...

To celebrate the birthdays of Jason and I (Brendan), the House Famous decided to do the whole birthday party thing a little differently. This past weekend we traveled to Ottawa to take part in an experiment of perspective: we slept on the streets of Ottawa.
We arrived in Ottawa around 6 pm and proceeded to enjoy the finer things of life first. We ate dinner at the Clock Tower Brew Pub (their homemade beer is awesome!) and had a more traditional celebration with gifts and whatnot. We then payed our bill and hit the streets. We, along with our friend Liz, walked from the Brew Pub in the Glebe to just outside Parliament where we split up into pairs and separated to go explore our nations capitol. It must be known that it was a chilly night and so the conditions for sleeping on the street were not necessarily ideal, so most of the night was spent looking for things to do until sleep was the only option left. Todd and Taylor panhandled for change (with Taylor racking up an impressive $4), and Jay and I ended up on quite an adventure that certainly deserves a blog entry of its own, but long story short we met up with old friends, walked to Hull and back, watched parts of the baseball game at a homeless shelter and slept in the Ecclesiax parking lot from 3:30 am to about 7 am.
Sleeping was difficult, if at all possible. By the time most of us tried to sleep there was already frost on the ground and even those of us with sleeping bags and large coats got very little sleep as we spent most of the time shivering and wiping our noses. The following morning all of us reunited back in the Glebe at a lovely establishment called the Wild Oat where we ate breakfast and told stories of the experiences we had had the night before. Afterward we went to Ecclesiax for church and then drove home.

Although we haven't fully debriefed our night of homelessness as a house I think it's safe to say that the experience had a big impact on all of us. As winter approaches it's become very clear to us that we don't want anyone to sleep on the street in the cold and we will be particularly aware of helping those who may be in a similar situation this coming season. Oh, and Jay and I agreed that this was by far the most interesting birthday we have yet to have :D.


Tom Waits said...


Marty said...

First: happy belated Birthday.
Second: you need to proof read - you forgot a word.(when)
Third:I guess for perspective this is a good thing to do - the question is what you do with this new understanding? How will it change your own life? How will it affect the House famous? What are you going to do next about it?

Marty said...

Tent city. My friend here in BC and I have disagred again - but I am not so sure.. In the news if you noticed there is a ruling saying the homeless can live in the parks in tents because there is a housing shortage. Arguement is these places are a spot of drugs, sex, prostitution and filth.
Ruining the parks for others - you know us decent folks. Then also you have people who just want to camp out and get the sites free ( In Vancouver are - ocean view camp sites are costly and now if you can tent in the park for free you get the best views.) Then what about policing - many of the homeless are - what shall we say needing control. And what is wrong with the shelters - and this is Canada - there is government help - no one needs to live on the street if one wishes not too.
There is a problem - how can it be fixed?