More Conversations with Street People
***** This book will change your view of Street People Review by: Rox Burkey
Author Dennis Cardiff spent years reaching out to learn about one person at a time. Not in a prying, judgmental manner, but more of a what a human being can do to help. Chronicling the lives of these individuals allows Dennis’s readers to envision the person, their challenges, their tragedies, and their pain.
It is amazing that the simple acts of listening, caring, and a little food permits these individuals their dignity. The lives they are leading are less than ideal for a myriad of reasons. The author protects their real identities, but the conversations are not modified. Your heart will break reading many of the stories these folks describe. You may even want to fix it. The exchange below made me want to hug Alphonse for everything he’s endured in such a short life.
“ “Maggie asks me why I haven’t been sleeping with her. Since she’s been on crack, she sells herself on the street. I try to watch out for her. I want her to be safe. I see her go away with men and come back about an hour later with a fistful of cash. She spends it all on crack. I’ve contracted syphilis and other sexual diseases from her. Luckily, they were treatable with antibiotics, but some diseases aren’t. I can’t risk my life to make love with her. I don’t know who she’s been with.
“My brother and sister came down to be with us after the baby died. Maggie was jealous. She thought they had come only to comfort me. I told her, ‘No, Maggie they came for both of us.’
“I still love Maggie. I don’t know what to do.”
Tears were falling from his eyes. I put my arm around his shoulder and said, “I love you, man. Let it all out. I know you still love Maggie, and so you should. She’s young, only 24 years…”
Your empathy and support for local outreach programs are a good option to help those people without shelter. This is a tragedy in every community and growing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, we are learning more people are calling the streets home around the world. This author protects these homeless by changing their names and giving their stories dignity. It will make you consider what you might do to make a small difference.
Dennis worked near the street people locations and checked on them most days. The time along with coffee or grocery gift cards was as important as the sympathetic ear. Dennis is a human being with a heart of gold. I highly recommend this to anyone who wishes to understand some of the circumstances for street people. It is also a series I would consider for high school seniors who need a better view of the harder sides of life experienced by some folks.
About the Author:
Can you find a secure shelter for the night? Have you experienced intense hunger? Are you a regular victim of verbal, emotional, or physical abuse? Read the conversations I have had with people who are hungry, homeless, and at risk. All author proceeds from the sale of books will be used to support those forced onto the streets and the Ottawa Innercity Ministries, Street Outreach Program.
Dennis Cardiff has been involved with street people since 2010, when he began to reach out, on his own, to some of the people without homes whom he encountered in his daily life. In his new book, he documents conversations he’s had with them over the past 4 years and, in the process, gives those who are often robbed of their humanity, a human face. Written in diary form by month, and including some of Cardiff’s poetry, the author chronicles the lives of people who are often ignored, feared, or reviled. About this project, Cardiff says:
“Writing about the homeless and helping the homeless, has given my life a purpose that it didn’t have before. Documenting their stories will, I hope, introduce them to the public in a non-threatening way. Some panhandlers look intimidating, but that disappears when one sees them laugh.”
Dennis Cardiff lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada. They each have two grown sons from previous marriages. An artist of many talents, Cardiff has been a professional portrait painter since 1972. He studied art at the Ontario College of Art, the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Ottawa.
In the four-book, Gotta Find a Home series Book 1 was published (December 29, 2014), 2 (5 April 2016),3 (May 25, 2017), and 4 (February 12, 2018). As with Book 1, all proceeds from sales go directly to those forced onto the street.
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